ASEAN: ASEAN Chair urges release of Suu Kyi, Meets Opposition from Member States

Updated On: Aug 17, 2009

Thailand has circulated a letter to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to bring about a consensus urging for a pardon and release of Aung San Suu  Kyi, to the disapproval of member states, Vietnam and Laos.

A Myanmar court sentenced the 64-year-old Nobel peace laureate to three years in detention on Tuesday for violating an internal security law, a sentence then halved by the military government, who also changed the terms of her imprisonment to house arrest.

"I (have) already sent a letter to ASEAN members, but we need a consensus," Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters by telephone after talks in Malaysia with his ministerial counterpart.

Singapore supports a new Thai initiative to draft a joint Asean letter appealing to the Myanmar government to grant a full amnesty to Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, said Foreign Minister George Yeo.
Mr Kasit, who said Malaysia and Indonesia supported the idea too, added that the letter will be ready 'as soon as possible, within this week'.

However, the proposal has met opposition from member states, Vietnam and Laos.

Khenthong Nuanthasing, Lao’s Ministry of Foreign Affair’s spokesperson said that Laos would not interfere in a neighbouring country's internal affairs and the trial is a legal procedure of Burma.

“However, Laos believes that Burma will achieve the Seven Steps Road Map to democracy in the given time frame. As a member, Laos will stand by the basic principle of the ASEAN Charter,” stated a report in the Thailand National News Bureau.

The Vietnam state media reported Friday that Vietnam did not support calls by other Asean member states for Burma to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

The state-run Vietnam News said Vietnam harbours no criticism of Burma's decision on Tuesday to place Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, effectively barring her from elections next year.

"It is our view Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial is an internal affair of Burma," a Vietnamese government spokesman Le Dung said on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dung said Vietnam had always supported Burma and hoped it would continue to implement the "roadmap to democracy" that has been outlined by its government.


AsiaOne News, S'pore backs Asean call to free Suu Kyi , 16 August 2009, http://news.asiaone.com/News/the%2BStraits%2BTimes/Story/A1Story20090816...

Bernama, Asean To Seek Pardon For Suu Kyi, 14 August 2009, http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=433004

Mizzima, Thailand urges Asean for a consensus on Burma, 15 August 2009, http://www.mizzima.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2634...

Reuters, Thailand sounds out ASEAN on Suu Kyi pardon,14 August 2009, http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-41758820090814

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