Betancourt urges more action to free Daw Suu

Nov 26, 2008 (DVB), Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt has said the international community needs to do more to bring about the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Speaking at the Norwegian foreign ministry last week, Betancourt said the international community should not let economic interests prevent them from doing all they can for Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.

"If the international community had done enough, she would be free, so the answer is we have not done enough and we need to do more," she said.

"I think it's very important that economic interests do not get in the way of the struggle of the people of Burma."

Betancourt was kidnapped while campaigning for the Colombian presidency in 2002 by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and was held for six and a half years.

Since her rescue in July this year, she has travelled the world campaigning for an end to kidnappings in Colombia and violence against women.

She has regularly spoken in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and called for her release.

Betancourt said she had a deep admiration for Aung San Suu Kyi and hoped to do more for her cause.

"I think that she is the soul of Burma, she is the hope of Burma," she said.

"She needs to stay alive because it doesn't matter how dark the night can be; she is that light in Burma and we need that light to continue shining until it becomes a very big sun."

Drawing on her own experience in captivity, Betancourt said that Aung San Suu Kyi should remain positive and look to the future.

"The only thing that I can tell her , and she knows , is that she has to live it day by day, knowing that the day of freedom and of victory will come for her, and that we will be there with her to rejoice," she said.

"She needs to know that this will happen and that we are just waiting for that moment to come."

Reporting by Than Win Htut

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