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Thai-Burma pact
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Thread: Thai-Burma pact

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    Thai-Burma pact

    Thai-Burma pact


    BangkokPost.com, TNA
    Naypyidaw, Burma - Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has committed Thailand to an investment accord with Burma under which Thailand will try to boost the economy and help the military regime.

    Mr Samak and his Burmese counterpart Gen Thein Sein witnessed the signing of the investment pact during Mr Samak's one-day visit to Burma on Friday.

    The agreement was kept secret until Mr Samak arrived back in Thailand.

    The accord reportedly protects Thai investors, although Mr Samak's aides have not presented details on that part of the still confidential agreement.

    Thailand will discuss taking part in Burmese plans to built a deep sea port at Tavoey opposite Thailand's Andaman Sea coast, and commits the Thai government to press Thai business leaders to invest in the port project and other unspecified projects sponsored by the military regime.

    It was a major step forward to helping the so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) rulers. Previous Thai governments have not opposed investment in Burma, but have seldom committed the country to directly aiding Burmese government projects.

    Thailand is already one of Myanmar's largest investors and trading partners, with Thai state-owned energy firms being the largest buyers of natural gas from that country.

    Mr Samak and Gen Thein Sein witnessed the signing of the agreement after holding bilateral talks soon after his arrival in the new Burmese capital. Prior to the signing, Mr Samak met SPDC chairman Senior General Than Shwe at the Bayintnauang Yeiktha Building in Naypyidaw.

    Mr Samak later presided at the opening of a new office building in the Thai embassy in Rangoon, the biggest Burmese city and former capital.

    The pemier said during the opening ceremony that he had ordered Thai ambassadors worldwide to operate a "one-stop service" to facilitate foreigners wishing to invest or explore investment possibility in Thailand.

    Before returning to Bangkok, Mr Samak presented his government's policy to "Team Thailand" officials at the embassy, then met about 500 Thais, mainly from the business community, hotel staff and personal care workers and beauticians.

    Mr Samak told a TNA reporter that he had received sufficient information from Snr Gen Than Shwe on military-ruled Burma's plans for its self-designated "roadmap to democracy".

    The Thai premier said he would inform the leaders of European countries when he visits them in future and that he would speak at the UN General Assembly in September.

    Leaders of military-ruled Burma last month made a surprise announcement that it would hold a referendum in May on a draft constitution and would hold a general election in 2010. These alleged elections have won strong endorsement from the Thai government.

    The elections will be the first since detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in the 1990 elections, but the party's victory was never recognised by the junta.

    "The information is vital for countries interested (in Burma) and Snr Gen Than Shwe also expressed during the talks that he wanted to see peace in the country," said Mr Samak.

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    Re: Thai-Burma pact

    Noppadon defensive over shilling for Burma


    Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said Saturday that the Samak Sundaravej government is not acting as spokesman for the Burmese government in simply trying to explain to the international community Burma's so-called "roadmap to democracy".

    Mr Noppadon, who accompanied Prime Minister Samak for a one-day official visit to Burma on Friday, said heheld talks with Burmese counterpart Win Aung, and urged him to cooperate with the United Nations in developing a democratic system.

    Win Aung told him he would discuss the issue with the government - which has specifically rejected UN help.

    He was willing to exchange information on conducting a public referendum on his country's draft constitution with Thailand, said Mr Noppadon.

    Plans by Thailand to explain to the world its willingness to assist Burma should not be interpreted as Thailand having become spokesman of the Burmese government, Mr Noppadon said.

    The assistance was just an act of neighbourliness, he said.

    On Friday, after meeting the head of the Burmese dictatorship Snr Gen Than Shwe on plans for Burma's so-called "road map to democracy," Mr Samak said he would inform European leaders about the Burmese plans when he visits them in the future. He said he would speak about Burma at the UN General Assembly in September.

    Leaders of military-ruled Burma last month announced they intend to hold a referendum some time in May on a draft constitution, and then a general election in 2010.

    The elections will be the first since detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in the 1990 elections, but the party's victory was never recognised by the junta. (TNA)

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: Thai-Burma pact

    TIES WITH BURMA

    PM's remarks favourable to junta panned
    ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT


    Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was attacked by critics yesterday after making favourable comments about the ruling Burmese junta and indicating the government plans to focus on making economic gains from Burma.

    Surapong Jayanama, secretary for political affairs to former premier Surayud Chulanont, said the Thai approach to Burma would benefit certain groups at the expense of human rights there.

    He viewed the policy towards Burma as a resumption of that undertaken by the government under deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    ''They [the ruling generals] know that Thai bureaucrats in collusion with politicians care about economic interests'' while ignoring Burma's weak points, said Mr Surapong, a former career diplomat.

    Mr Samak said he was impressed with the Burmese generals after his one-day visit to Naypidaw, the new Burmese administrative capital, on Friday.

    The trip clearly showed the government's stance towards Burma and that Thailand cared less about human rights and democracy there and more about cooperation on infrastructure development, Mr Surapong said.

    ''The nearer the summer approaches, the more we'll see ethnic groups along the Thai border battered. They will be sacrificed as the Thai government turns a blind eye for the sake of certain Thai traders' concessions in Burma,'' he said.

    Mr Samak said he respected the Burmese generals because they meditate, like good Buddhists.

    Pornpimon Trichot, a senior researcher on Burma at Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Asian Studies, said the junta tended to be smart when entertaining guests and first-time visitors have therefore been impressed by the image presented by the government.

    But she said Thailand should realise that behind the peaceful, beautiful scenes on the surface there are far more threatening and heart-breaking situations.

    Bangkok Post

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