Cambodia sees Suu Kyi release as positive step

Photo by: AFP
A Myanmar activist holds a portrait of detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during protest outside Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok last year.
government has hailed the release of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi after years of house arrest, describing it as an important step on the road towards democracy.

“The government of Cambodia welcomes the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar,” said Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said Suu Kyi’s release was a sign the military government is implementing its seven-step “roadmap to democracy”, the fifth of which came into force with controversial elections on November 7.

“The government of Myanmar have implemented their roadmap. They have now taken [the fifth] step towards democracy and the development of the country,” Koy Kuong said.

The 65-year-old dissident and Nobel laureate walked free Saturday after seven years of house arrest in Yangon, calling on a sea of jubilant supporters to unite in the face of repression by the country’s military rulers.

She is set to address supporters of the headquarters of her previously defunct National League for Democracy at midday today local time.

Cambodia’s reaction to the event mirrored that of other ASEAN countries, which have previously been cautious in their criticism of Myanmar’s military junta.

Today, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the release as “an important step in the national reconciliation and democratisation process”.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also described it as a “positive step towards national reconciliation”.

Rights groups, however, have been sceptical of the release, describing it as a means of deflecting attention away from last week’s election, widely criticised as a sham to entrench military rule. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP


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