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Philippines seeks Suu Kyi’s quick release after military coup

THE PHILIPPINES on Tuesday sought the immediate release of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the military declared a coup last  month.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said the government is “deeply concerned” about developments in the Southeast Asian nation, citing a need to return to the previous state of affairs there.

“Our call is for the complete return to the previously existing state of affairs,” according to a copy of a speech he gave during an informal online meeting with foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday.

“The first step should be for the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and subsequent dialogue among the parties involved in their country’s destiny,” according to a copy of the speech e-mailed by the Foreign Affairs department.

Mr. Locsin said he is aware of the military’s role in preserving Myanmar’s national security, but Ms. Suu Kyi’s “unifying role” should also be recognized.

The military is back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency after seizing control on Feb. 1 after a general election that Ms. Suu Kyi’s NLD party won by a landslide. Ms. Suu Kyi and other officials were detained.

The armed forces had backed the opposition, which was demanding a rerun of the vote due to alleged fraud.

The United Nations Human rights Office in a statement on Sunday said at least 18 people have died and 30 more were hurt during protests.

“We worked hard to give Myanmar back the respect due a responsible member of the community of nations,” Mr. Locsin said, noting that the country was moving toward a fuller democracy. “This should not stop now.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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