Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thailand supports democratization of Burma: Abhisit

by Usa Pichai

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - The Prime Minister of Thailand has said talks with ethnic rebels, the Karen National Union, depends on the Burmese military junta and the United Nations, reiterating that Thailand supports democratization and national reconciliation in the country.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s Prime Minister on Tuesday was commenting on the Burmese government’s desire that Thailand persuade the KNU to begin a process of reconciliation with the junta and contest the 2010 general elections.

“The issue depends on the Burmese regime and the UN to make the discussion operational. Thailand would help as a neighbouring country. However, the negotiation should be held to solve the problem because some ethnic group members migrated to live in Thailand,” Abhisit said, according to a report in a Thai government website.

The Thai PM also added that he has not yet been informed that the Thai Foreign Minister agreed to hold talks with the ethnic group, which does not see eye to eye, with the junta’s constitution.

“At the moment, the Burmese junta has worked mainly with the UN rather than with the ASEAN,” he said. (JEG: conveniently he switches listeners)

He said the Thai government supported efforts by the Burmese government regarding national reconciliation and the restoration of democracy in the country.

In addition, he added the position of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was clear. It wanted to see all parties take part in Burmese general elections in the coming year. (JEG: it wants all parties to TAKE PART based on what?)

However, numerous voices from among the international community have expressed doubts whether the 2010 election will allow fair participation by all parties.

Abhisit’s comment came after Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said, during his visit to Burma that he was asked by the military junta to meet representatives of ethnic rebels and to persuade the KNU to join the junta’s road map to democracy.

Kasit made his introductory two-day visit to Burma on Sunday and Monday, discussing bilateral issues and laying the groundwork for an official visit by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The Karen Nation Union and the Shan State Army, which rejected the junta-backed seven-step road map to democracy, are two major armed factions continuing to wage war against the regime.

On Tuesday David Takapaw, Vice-President of the KNU, reacted saying that they will not yield to any form of pressure to partake in the 2010 general election unless Burma’s generals implement changes in their roadmap.

However, Takapaw said the KNU is ready to hold talks with the Burmese regime if it is aimed at addressing the ongoing conflict in Burma.

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