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Asia-pacific

Junta slams Thailand on Suu Kyi trial before EU, Asia talks

Video by Marian HENBEST

Latest update : 2009-05-25

As Asian and European foreign ministers meet in Vietnam Monday, the Burmese military criticised neighbouring Thailand’s condemnation of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial and accused Bangkok of interfering in its internal affairs.

AFP - Myanmar's military regime has "strongly rejected" a statement by the Association of Southeast Asian nations condemning the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, state media said Monday.
   
The ruling junta accused Thailand, which issued the statement one week ago as the rotating chairman of the 10-member bloc, of interfering in Myanmar's internal affairs, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
   
"This statement issued by the alternate ASEAN chairman -- which is not in conformity with ASEAN practice, incorrect in facts, interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar -- is strongly rejected by Myanmar," it said.
   
"It is sadly noted that the alternate ASEAN chairman failed to preserve the dignity of ASEAN, the dignity of Myanmar and the dignity of Thailand," said the statement, which was also carried on state-run television and radio.
   
The ASEAN statement expressed "grave concern" over the treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi, a rare step by the group which hardly ever speaks out on the domestic political issues of its members, including Myanmar.
   
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial on charges of violating her house arrest after an incident in which an American man swam to her house. She faces up to five years in jail.
   
The Southeast Asian bloc has come under pressure from the United States and the EU to exert its influence on Myanmar, which has kept Aung San Suu Kyi in detention for 13 of the past 19 years.
   
Myanmar's statement said that the actions it had taken against Aung San Suu Kyi were "in accordance with the normal practice in every state and it is merely the internal affairs of Myanmar."
   
It said that Thailand breached ASEAN procedures by failing to seek a consensus of foreign ministers for the statement, adding: "Such an act may cause an undesirable tradition in ASEAN."

Date created : 2009-05-25

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