Myanmar Shrugs Off Int'l Pressure to Free Nobel Winner

Facing increasing international pressure to release jailed pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi (search), Myanmar's military government blamed her on Saturday for the lack of democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

The junta also indicated it was unlikely to be moved by a Thailand-drafted plan for the release of Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

"We heard about the 'road map' from media reports but we are not informed about the details," Brig. Gen. Than Tun, a senior official in the military intelligence, told reporters. "Our belief is that solutions for the internal issues must be sought internally."

The Thai plan was announced Thursday during a meeting of seven Southeast Asian countries and the European Union.

The junta has remained defiant toward pressure from the West, the United Nations and neighboring countries to free Suu Kyi, who has been kept incommunicado since May 30.

Myanmar (search) has not had a constitution since 1988, when military leaders took power and the country's socialist constitution was abrogated. The junta called elections in 1990 but refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's party won.

In a commentary published in all three state-run newspapers, Myanmar's military junta said the nation had been deprived of a parliamentary democracy because Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (search) withdrew from a constitution-drafting process in 1995.

If the party had cooperated, "there would not have been any political conflict, no problem of political prisoners, nor any refugee problem and a new constitution could have emerged since 1995-96 and so would have the parliamentary democratic administration," it said.

Suu Kyi was arrested in northern Myanmar on May 30 after a clash between a pro-junta mob and her supporters. Dissidents said the mob attacked Suu Kyi's motorcade and killed many supporters. The government denied the accusations and put the death toll at four.

Also Saturday, the junta announced the arrest of 12 people for allegedly planning a series of bombings since March that had killed two people and wounded 50. The junta wields iron control and there was no way to verify its claims.

None of those arrested were members of Suu Kyi's party, the government said.