Thailand urges Myanmar’s junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi

Her transfer this week to house arrest was ‘a positive step,’ the Thai Foreign Ministry said.
By RFA Burmese
2024.04.18
Thailand urges Myanmar’s junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi Former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and former President Win Myint during a court appearance in Naypyidaw, May 24, 2021.
(Myanmar Ministry of Information handout/AFP)

The Thai Foreign Ministry urged Myanmar’s military junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi in a statement that also welcomed this week’s move of the former de facto leader to house arrest.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was transferred out of Naypyidaw Prison under tight security on Tuesday. It was believed that the 78-year-old had been held in solitary confinement at the prison in the capital. Her new location was unclear.

Former President Win Myint was also moved to house arrest on Tuesday in central Myanmar’s Bago region. 

The transfers were “a positive step in responding to the concerns of the international community,” Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said in a statement on Wednesday.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew an elected government in February 2021. 

The military junta has ignored a five-point consensus it agreed to with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in April 2021, which included a call for a ceasefire and dialogue between all parties in Myanmar.

“The Thai Government calls for further positive steps in this direction leading to their immediate full release in order to advance the implementation of the ASEAN five-points consensus,” Parnpree said in the statement.

Parnpree visited the Myanmar border on April 12 just after the army lost control of the major border town of Myawaddy. 

The takeover by anti-junta forces sent thousands of people toward the border and caused neighboring Thailand’s armed forces to deploy soldiers alongside Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridges, which regulate both people and goods and connect Myawaddy to Thailand’s Mae Sot. 

Parnpree urged the junta to refrain from further violence in the region. He said that people fleeing the fighting would be allowed into Thailand “on a strictly humanitarian basis.”

On Thursday, ASEAN’s foreign ministers said they were “deeply concerned over the recent escalation of conflicts” in Myawaddy and in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the ethnic rebel Arakan Army has captured eight townships since ending a year-long ceasefire in November.

“We call on all parties to take urgent steps towards mitigating the impact of conflicts on the civilians, including creating a safe and conducive environment to ensure the timely and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance,” the ministers said in a statement.

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Matt Reed and Malcolm Foster.

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