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Aung San Suu Kyi Detention Could Derail ASEAN Summit Agenda

Indonesia's envoy to Burma says he is hopeful the detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not derail the upcoming summit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN nations have stepped up diplomacy to gain the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but have yet to get any firm commitments from Burma's military government.

The members of the Association of South East Asian Nations have repeatedly and vocally criticized member Burma for its continued detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The issue is threatening to derail the agenda at the ASEAN summit in Bali, Indonesia on October 7.

So this week Indonesia sent former foreign minister, Ali Alatas, to Burma to try to persuade the military government to release the Nobel Laureate who has been in her latest detention since May 30.

Mr. Alatas says even though he did not get any specific commitments, Rangoon has promised to consider the problem.

"We don't know yet what will happen between now and the summit meeting, but I really hope and I think by that time there will be new developments," he said.

Thailand - which has taken the softest diplomatic line on Burma - also sent its foreign minister to Rangoon Thursday for a one-day meeting.

The Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman (Sihasak Phuangketkeow) says his government is also hopeful there will be a resolution to the problem.

And on the basis of the discussions, we believe that there will be positive developments and progress on every issue," he said.

Burma's new prime minister, Khin Nyunt, has announced a road map to political reform, which would include a new constitution and elections. But he has declined to specify a timetable, if opposition groups will be included in the process, and when Aung San Suu Kyi would be released from detention.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been hospitalized since undergoing surgery last week. Her personal physician said Friday that she will be leaving soon.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won Burma's last elections in 1990, but was never allowed to take power by the military.

She was detained on May 30 after government loyalists attacked her convoy. The ruling generals say she was taken into custody for her own protection, but the international community has dismissed their explanations.