French President Jacques Chirac has called on Burma to release political prisoners such as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and move its government closer to democracy.
The French leader told reporters in Bangkok Saturday that he was deeply concerned about what he called the continuing "authoritarian nature of the Burmese regime."
He said it is unacceptable for a nation to hold political prisoners in this day and age. Mr. Chirac is in Thailand for the first-ever diplomatic visit to the nation by a French president.
Burma's military leadership crushed a pro-democracy movement in 1988, and refused to recognize election results after a landslide victory by the opposition National League for Democracy in 1990.
As opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 10 of the last 16 years in detention, mostly under house arrest.
Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.