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Japan Threatens to Cut Aid to Burma Unless Aung San Suu Kyi  is Released - 2003-06-25


Japan is threatening to cut off aid to Burma unless democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi is released.

Japanese officials said Wednesday Japan would withhold economic assistance to Burma unless Aung San Suu Kyi is released.

The statement to reporters came after U.N. Special Envoy Razali Ismail met in Tokyo with senior Japanese officials to discuss Burma. He held talks with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Tetsuro Yano, who was in Burma Monday.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was detained after clash May 30 between her supporters and a government-backed crowd. The Burmese government blames her supporters for the violence, but Western diplomats say it was instigated by the government side.

British officials have said Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison, but Burmese officials denied this in talks with Mr. Yano on Monday. Most other leaders of her National League for Democracy also have been detained and the party's offices shut.

Japan is Burma's biggest international donor. It is not clear from Japanese statements if Tokyo intends to stop all current aid, or to just to refrain from extending any new assistance.

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