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Foreign pressure won't free Suu Kyi -- state media

Written by: Staff
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YANGON, July 4 (Reuters) Mounting international pressure on Myanmar will not free democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, state-run newspapers said today as a visit by a regional envoy was postponed.

''There is no point at all in the United States and its liberal gang members demanding her release. Her release would be dangerous for herself and the country,'' said a commentary published in newspapers considered mouthpieces of the regime.

''Only Daw Suu Kyi herself can bring about her freedom.

Nobody else can do it,'' it said of the Nobel Peace laureate who has spent 10 of the last 17 years under some form of detention.

The United States, which has imposed sanctions on the former Burma, wants the UN Security Council to put pressure on a regime Washington says is a threat to ''stability, peace and security in the region''.

Myanmar's neighbours in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have also shown rare public displeasure with Yangon, but they have had little success in cajoling the generals to free Suu Kyi or speed up promised political reforms.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo was due to visit Yangon this week as Manila prepared to assume the chairmanship of ASEAN in late July.

But the trip was put off due to a scheduling problem.

''Hopefully, by next month. We have not agreed on the date.

It will happen,'' Romulo told reporters in Manila, adding that he had asked for permission to meet Suu Kyi. Her house arrest was extended in May for another year.

''My desire is to meet her. Our policy has been the same -- the roadmap to peace and democracy, and it has been expressed by the president in international fora. The roadmap to democracy is the important point,'' he said.

Yangon says its seven-step plan announced in 2003 will end more than 40 years of military rule, but it has set no timetable.

The roadmap is only halfway through its first step of drafting a new constitution through a National Convention, a process boycotted by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) while its leader Suu Kyi remains confined.

The commentary said the roadmap would be implemented with or without Suu Kyi and her party, which won an election landslide in 1990 only to be denied power by the military.

''At this juncture, there would not be any chance for political reconciliation even if she were released,'' the commentary said.

REUTERS SRS DS1646

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