Indonesia wants Daw Suu in Burmese democracy process

Feb 29, 2008 (AFP), Indonesia wants to see democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi included in the political process in military-ruled Burma, foreign minister Hassan Wirayuda said Wednesday.

Burma’s foreign minister Nyan Win last week confirmed to his Southeast Asian counterparts that the military’s new constitution would bar widow Aung San Suu Kyi from running in elections that have been slated for 2010 as she had been married to a foreigner.

Wirayuda said that Indonesia, the largest member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – to which Burma also belongs – should along with ASEAN still engage with the regime to push for an inclusive political process.

Indonesia welcomed the announcement of the May constitutional referendum and 2010 elections, "but Indonesia is still advocating an engagement by ASEAN with Myanmar," Wirayuda told a press briefing.

He said Indonesia supported the mission of UN envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari, who is UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s pointman on promoting national reconciliation in Burma.

"But Myanmar, being a member of the ASEAN family, we see the importance of ASEAN or Indonesia, at least, to engage Myanmar so we can ensure that the process that they are now undertaking… could result in the solution that is also acceptable to the international community," Wirayuda said.

"That’s why our concern is how to make the process in Myanmar more credible, meaning to make the process more inclusive by allowing the participation of groups including Madam Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD (her National League for Democracy party), as well as minority groups… in the coming process," he added.

Wirayuda was speaking after meeting with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was on a one-day visit to Indonesia.

Gambari visited Indonesia earlier this week and said he would raise the banning of Aung San Suu Kyi with the junta when he next returns in early March. The visit will be Gambari’s third since September, when the military junta violently crushed the biggest pro-democracy protests in nearly 20 years.

Wirayuda has said in the past that Jakarta could play a significant role in Burma’s democratic process by sharing its experience of transition from a military government to full democracy.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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