PM pledges role in Myanmar talks

national June 01, 2016 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT,
KHINE KYAW

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THE government will offer to perform a role in Myanmar’s national reconciliation process when the Thai premier meets State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi this month during her official visit to Thailand.



“I have been asked by many to help support the Myanmar government,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. 
“And I have to help Myanmar with efforts in national reconciliation. We have to support them in the right way.”
Prayut said that Myanmar commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing also asked him to support the new Myanmar government.
Zaw Htay, spokesman for the Myanmar President’s Office, confirmed that Suu Kyi would visit Thailand late this month for an official introductory visit but declined to give more details about her visit or whether President Htin Kyaw would join her.
However, Prayut said Htin Kyaw would visit Thailand, describing the president as “a good talker and polite like [former president] Thein Sein”. 
“When we met at the recent Asean-Russia summit, he didn’t ask me about Thailand’s internal affairs at all,” Prayut said with grin.
“Asean holds a principle of non-interference. If anyone wants to ask about our situation, they have to do it somewhere else.
“Everything that will be continued” will be on the agenda for the meeting, the prime minister said, including Rohingya migrants, whom the Myanmar government refers to as Bengalis.
Myanmar’s national reconciliation process was initiated a month before elections in November, when the Thein Sein government signed a ceasefire agreement with eight armed ethnic groups, although seven other ethnic groups refused to sign the deal.
The new administration has pledged to continue the peacemaking process but hold-out armed ethnic groups have expressed doubts that the civilian government has the power to forge a lasting deal because of the military’s still |powerful grip on security and border affairs. 
While Thailand has been riven by political division domestically for many years, Myanmar has repeatedly hosted peace talks between Nay Pyi Taw and armed ethnic groups, however Thai authorities have rarely mentioned the country’s role in public. 

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