BANGKOK, 12 Aug 2009: Thailand, the current Asean Chair, has expressed disappointment that Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to serve 18 months’ house confinement with limited freedom.
In a statement issued by the Thai Foreign Ministry a day after the 11 Aug verdict, Thailand reiterated calls made by the Asean foreign ginisters at their annual meeting last month, where they had called for the immediate release of all those under detention, including Suu Kyi.
Thailand said their release was important to enable them to participate in the 2010 general elections.
“Such actions will contribute to national reconciliation among the people of Myanmar, meaningful dialogue and facilitate the democratisation of Myanmar,” said the ministry.
Thailand, which is due to hand over the chair to Vietnam during the 15th Asean Summit in October, said only a free, fair and inclusive general elections would pave the way for Myanmar’s full integration into the international community.
Suu Kyi, who spent the last 14 of 20 years under house arrest, was Tuesday sentenced a further 18 months of detention on a charge of violating her housearrest after an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside home in May.
Her trial and the expected conviction were widely condemned by the international community, which considered the latest action by the military junta as a way to keep her out of the election next year.
Thailand said Asean member countries wished to see their fellow member be at peace, prosperous and well respected in the international community.
The chair reiterated the regional grouping’s readiness to cooperate with the Myanmar government in its efforts to realise the seven steps to democracy, and remain constructively engaged with Myanmar to build the Asean community together.
“We also continue to support the ongoing good offices of the United Nations secretary-general, and urge Myanmar’s full cooperation with the UN,” the Thai ministry added. — Bernama