Burma Progress is Encouraging: Abhisit

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TUESDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2012

Thailand’s former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva said Burma’s ongoing democratic reforms are encouraging and that he hopes the nation will continue on this path.

Abhisit made the comment to journalists in Rangoon on Feb. 18 after meeting with Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who heads the opposition National League for Democracy.

Abhisit said that he went to Burma to applaud the country over its significant reforms, as well as to share his happiness over the resulting peace and development.

The Thai opposition leader said that Thailand is closely watching the progress in Burma and was encouraged by Burma’s recent changes. He said that Thailand hopes that Burma will continue the process of democratic reform in the future.

The former premier also said that he hopes Burmese refugees who have been sheltering for years in refugee camps will be able to return home to their villages safely one day.

There are some 150,000 Burmese refugees in nine refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. Many have lived in the camps for more than 20 years. The majority are ethnic Karens who fled from their hometowns and villages due to military attacks launched by Burmese government troops.

According to the Bangkok Post, Abhisit said he and Suu Kyi exchanged views on the political conflict in Thailand and efforts to bring about national reconciliation. He reportedly said that achieving reconciliation in any country often depends on the attitude on its leaders.

Speaking of her meeting with Abhisit, Suu Kyi said they shared their experiences about the path to democracy.

Suu Kyi also met with Thailand’s current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, on Dec. 21 in 2011 in Rangoon.

After returning from Burma on Sunday, Abhisit told the Bangkok Post: “We exchanged opinions on various matters including the forthcoming by-election in Myanmar and overall picture of economic and social affairs, particularly how to cope with the inflow of capital for investment in Myanmar.”

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