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Relatives of protesters in chains after the 2007 protests in Burma

Burma Trial Likely To Trigger Phuket Condemnation

Monday, May 18, 2009
INTERNATIONAL attention will be focussed on Phuket today in expectation of concerted condemnation of the treatment and trial of democracy's leading light in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Nobel laureate, her two housemaids and an American man who swam to her house are expected to appear in a Rangoon prison court today before two judges, cnn.com reports one of her lawyers as saying.

Riot police and barbed wire were said to ring the notorious Insein Prison as activist groups, which spearheaded a bloody uprising against Burma's military rulers in 2007, called for protest rallies.

The US Embassy in Bangkok told Phuketwan that the US would be represented in talks involving 27 countries on Phuket by its Ambassador to Asean, Scot Marciel.

The 10 nations of Asean are being joined by representatives of another 17 nations in regular low-profile discussions on regional security and other issues.

The talks take place at a resort in the western Phuket beach destination of Karon today, tomorrow and on Wednesday.

The presence of a representative from Burma makes it likely that indignation will be expressed, although perhaps in diplomatic fashion, on the sidelines of the meetings.

The US has already made its indignation plain with US President Barack Obama extending sanctions against Burma and its ruling junta of generals.

A statement from the White House late last week said that the crisis between the US and Burma arose ''from the actions and policies of the Government of Burma, including its engaging in large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma.''

While not mentioning Aung San Suu Kyi by name, the statement continues: ''These actions and policies are hostile to US interests and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the US.

''For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Burma and maintain in force the sanctions against Burma to respond to this threat.''

Aung San Suu Kyi and the others face trial for an incident in which the eccentric American allegedly swam across a lake and stayed for two days in the closely guarded residence in Rangoon, where she is under house arrest.

Japan has also been outspoken in its criticism of the Burma junta's latest actions, and other countries are expected to make their feelings known in Phuket over the next three days.

Apart from the US, Burma and Japan, the other countries attending are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam from Asean, dialogue partners Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, the Democratic Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, East Timor, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, plus Papua New Guinea as an observer.

Various groupings will meet over the three days at the Movenpick Resort, not far from the Hilton Arcadia Phuket, where the Asean Plus Six summit was to be centred in June before a postponement.

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Wednesday October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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