Myanmar won't release Suu Kyi, says Thai PM
Myanmar will not release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Wednesday after talks with his counterpart from the military-run country.
Samak said Prime Minister General Thein Sein confirmed to him that the junta would not release the Nobel peace laureate, who has spent most of the past 18 years under house arrest or in jail.
"He said they will not free her as they do not want to deal with her... even if the foreigners praise her," Samak told reporters after their meeting.
Samak also confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi would be barred from elections under a draft constitution, which is being put to a referendum on May 10.
"The constitution already stipulates that she cannot run in the election since she was married to a foreigner," Samak said.
Aung San Suu Kyi is the widow of Briton Michael Aris, an expert on Tibet.
Samak said the general had reiterated that after the referendum, Myanmar would set up political parties to contest elections the junta says will be held in 2010.
The referendum will be the first balloting in Myanmar since 1990, when Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory, which was never recognised by the military rulers.
Thailand, which is one of the biggest investors and trading partners in Myanmar, opposes sanctions and says putting pressure on the junta to change is counterproductive.
Samak said Thailand would also take the opportunity when it assumes the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in December to explain the situation in Myanmar to its fellow members.