Thailand Denies Burma Opposition Leader on Hunger Strike


2003-09-04
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Thailand said Thursday it believed Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi isn't on hunger strike, as the United States has reported. "As far as our intelligence goes, there is no hunger strike" by Aung San Suu Kyi, Thai Foreign Minister Surakiat Sathirathai told reporters in Bangkok.

The U.S. State Department reported this week that the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader was on hunger strike to protest her detention since May 30, when pro-government gangs attacked her convoy in the north of the country.

State Department officials, contacted on Thursday in Washington, told RFA's Burmese service they didn't plan to comment on the Thai minister's statement.

Surakiat also voiced support for a national reconciliation plan announced on Saturday by Myanmar's new prime minister, Khin Nyunt.

Cry for Aung San Suu Kyi's release

Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD won general elections in 1990 but the military ignored the result. She has been in and out of detention for the past 14 years, most recently for the last three months despite repeated international demands she be released.

An official for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) told RFA's Burmese service on Saturday that Aung San Suu Kyi had been visited a month ago by an ICRC representative. "She has been visited by the ICRC and we would like to revisit her," deputy delegation head Alfredo Mallet said from Rangoon. "I hope it will be possible, [but] I have no details on that so far."

Mallet declined to comment on reports of Aung San Suu Kyi's hunger strike and reaffirmed the ICRC's commitment to visiting her again.

The international community has protested at the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and several key activists after a government-backed attack on NLD supporters May 30 near Depayin Township in the north of the country.

Washington and the European Union have imposed stiffer sanctions against the Burmese regime since the incident, while Japan has withdrawn new aid.

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