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Thai PM hopes UN chief’s visit to Myanmar will ease situation

BANGKOK, May 22 (TNA) – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday said he hoped the planned visit to Myanmar of the United Nations chief will ease the situation there after Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and put on trial following a bizarre visit by an American to her house.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier told reporters that he is ‘deeply concerned about what has happening in Myanmar’ and he will visit Myanmar ‘as soon as possible’ to press for the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Following the news regarding Ban Ki-moon’s Myanmar visit, Prime Minister Abhisit said that it will be carried out as planned, after being scheduled earlier in April.

“Recently, UN and Myanmar have worked directly together and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) welcomes this initiative,’ said the Thai premier. “We do hope the UN chief’s visit will help ease the problems and the situation there.”

Mr. Abhisit also said that the Thai ambassador to Myanmar, Bansarn Bunnag had met Mrs. Suu Kyi at Insein Prison in Yangon where she has been detained for breaching the terms of house arrest.

The Thai ambassador had discussed with the Nobel laureate over the ASEAN stance and asked her to tell about the incident.

Mrs. Suu Kyi, whose six-term house arrest will end on May 27, was put on trial on Monday after Myanmar authorities discovered that a 53-year-old American, John Yettaw, swam to her lakeside home and spent two nights there.

As ASEAN chair, the Thai premier expressed the ASEAN stance that the regional bloc is closely monitoring the situation in Myanmar and has been regularly discussing the issue among the ASEAN members.

“We want the UN to play an active role in solving Myanmar’s problem,” Mr. Abhisit affirmed.

The Thai premier said it cannot be predicted how the situation will unfold on May 27 when Suu Kyi’s house arrest term ends, but international community and ASEAN have expressed clear stance over the issue.

Thailand, as chair of ASEAN, earlier called for the immediate release of the Myanmar opposition leader, expressing its “grave concern” about Mrs. Suu Kyi’s situation given her fragile health.

Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Jarungwat said the Myanmar issue will be discussed at the 9th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministerial Meeting (FMM 9) in Hanoi, scheduled from May 22-25, as well as at the 17th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh on May 27-28.

Mr. Tharit said that it is good opportunity as the foreign ministers of the ten ASEAN members will attend both meetings. (TNA

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