ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Myanmar opposition resent Thai PM remarks on Aung San Suu Kyi
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s comments describing Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as ‘political tool’ of the West during his meeting with United
Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari early this week in Bangkok angered Myanmar opposition groups and political observers, the Irrawaddy online news magazine reported Wednesday.
Samak reportedly made the controversial remarks when he met Gambari who stopped over in Bangkok on his return from latest mission to Myanmar.
“Europe uses Aung San Suu Kyi as a political tool,” Samak told Gambari. “If it's not related to Aung San Suu Kyi, you can have deeper discussions with Myanmar,” Samak
was quoted as telling the UN envoy.
The Irrawaddy also quoted Samak as telling reporters after meeting Gambari that efforts to engage the military regime would be more productive if Aung San Suu Kyi
was left off the agenda.
Thai premier’s comments were rejected as inappropriate by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
NLD spokesman Nyan Win accused Samak of favouring the Myanmar’s ruling junta and ignoring the Burmese people.
Kavi Chongkittavorn, senior editor of the Bangkok English-language daily newspaper The Nation said, “I think Samak’s comment is ridiculous. And he has tarnished Thailand’s
reputation as the chairman of the Asean, reported the Irrawaddy.
Gambari, who requested continued support from Thailand to his mission in his meeting with the Thai premier, did not have a chance to meet Myanmar junta boss Than Shwe
nor Aung San Suu Kyi during his latest visit.
However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy spokeswoman, Marie Okabe, said in New York on Monday refused to acknowledge the visit was a failure. “One
should not make a judgment on the process based on each individual visit,” she said.
On Wednesday, Gambari was in Indonesia where he also asked the Indonesian government to support his mission. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who
received Gambari, expressed his hope that the dialogue between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar government, which has suspended in January, would recommence,
reported the local daily Jakarta Post.