Myanmar’s transition to democracy must be peaceful, Thai leader tells UN
Decrying the use of violence against protesters in Myanmar, Thailand’s Prime Minister told the General Assembly today that democracy must be achieved in a peaceful manner.
Myanmar has recently witnessed a wave of peaceful demonstrations, which began last month in protest against a surge in fuel prices and more recently have included many of the country’s monks.
Like its neighbour, Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and shares “in the beliefs of non-violence and tolerance,” Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate. “Thailand therefore finds as unacceptable the commission of violence and bodily harm to Buddhist monks and other demonstrators” in the city of Yangon.
“We strongly urge Myanmar to exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution and resume its efforts at national reconciliation with all parties concerned, and work towards a peaceful transition to democracy,” the Prime Minister said, calling on the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
He noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to which Thailand belongs is appalled at reports of automatic weapons being used against demonstrators and that there have been fatalities.
The Prime Minister said that ASEAN throws its full weight behind the decision of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send his Special Envoy for Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari to the troubled nation, voicing hope that his neutrality will help to bring calm.