- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

BURMA

Protests said likely if Suu Kyi released

MANILA — Burma will face protests and political instability if it releases pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from detention, a police general from Rangoon said here at midweek.

Brig. Gen. Khin Yi told the Associated Press that the Nobel Peace Prize winner, arrested May 30, will not be detained “too long.” Gen. Khin Yi attended a gathering of ASEAN police officials in the Philippines capital. Burma is under intense pressure to free Mrs. Suu Kyi, much of it from fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who want her released before their Oct. 7 summit in Bali.



The United States has imposed economic and political sanctions to press for Mrs. Suu Kyi’s release. Washington has said it has credible reports she is on a hunger strike, but Red Cross officials who visited her last Saturday denied it.

SRI LANKA

Government denies Tamil rebel buildup

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka Thursday denied opposition charges that a proliferation of Tamil Tiger bases in the northeast of the island was jeopardizing a 19-month cease-fire and said the rebels are still committed to peace.

Cabinet spokesman G.L. Peiris’ efforts at reassurance came as the government announced that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will visit Sri Lanka next month. Mr. Peiris confirmed there were 13 rebel camps in the northeast, but said all but one were in rebel-held areas or existed before the Norwegian-brokered truce.

“The defense minister is satisfied that under any contingency he is able to ensure the security of the Eastern Province and the port of Trincomalee,” Mr. Peiris said, accusing the opposition of “spoiler tactics” to derail the peace process.

MONGOLIA

People worse off without Soviet aid

ULAN BATOR — Mongolia may have left communism behind, but the shift a decade ago to a market economy has brought few benefits to the people here in the capital.

As the fifth International Conference of New and Restored Democracies opened this week, trade was brisk at a popular soup kitchen at the Hospital of Fraternity not far from downtown.

“In Ulan Bator, extreme wealth goes hand in hand with extreme poverty,” said Sister Marie-Domenica, one of two French nurses who work in the charitable hospital that doubles as an orphanage and school, and provides showers and a canteen for those in need.

After 70 years of Soviet control and subsidies, Mongolia embarked 10 years ago on the road of democracy and market reforms.

Weekly notes …

India and the United States can together help Nepal defeat the “ruthless” Maoist rebels who last month ended a cease-fire, says Washington’s top South Asia policy-maker. “India’s historic, cultural and social ties with Nepal continue to make it the most important outside influence on events in that country,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca said at a Thursday luncheon in New Delhi. “Working in tandem, our governments can help Nepal defeat the Maoist threat,” she said. … International mediators are worried that a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, dormant nearly a decade, could flare up again after a summer in which troops from both sides have clashed with the worst violence in years. Azerbaijan says 11 of its soldiers have been killed in skirmishes in the past two months, while Armenia says one of its men was shot. Azerbaijan’s leader, Haydar Aliyev, 80, is recovering in a U.S. hospital and will return to his oil-rich country before the Oct. 15 presidential election, his son said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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