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Updated: July 23, 2010 19:04 IST

U.S., EU urge Myanmar to hold fair elections, release prisoners

DPA
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a statement and takes a few questions from reporters at the conclusion of the 17th ASEAN Regional forum in Hanoi on Friday. Photo: AP.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a statement and takes a few questions from reporters at the conclusion of the 17th ASEAN Regional forum in Hanoi on Friday. Photo: AP.

The United States and the European Union called on Myanmar on Friday to hold fair elections and release political prisoners.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, representing the European Union, were attending the Association of South—East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

The week—long ASEAN meeting has been dominated by concerns about junta—ruled Myanmar, or Burma, which in January promised to hold elections this year without specifying a date, and by escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Myanmar should “put in place the necessary conditions for credible elections, including releasing all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, respecting basic human rights, and ceasing attacks against their ethnic minorities,” Ms. Clinton told reporters on Friday in Hanoi.

The Burmese government has kept pro—democracy leader Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi under detention for most of the last 20 years.

Earlier on Friday, Mr. Martonyi said elections in Myanmar would present an “opportunity to steer the country toward a better future.” But Myanmar’s detention of political prisoners would render the elections “seriously flawed,” he added.

In her remarks on Friday, Ms. Clinton also urged members of ASEAN to ensure that Myanmar abides by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1874 and 1718, which promote denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

ASEAN members are Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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