November 23, 2007
Burma shuns Thailand-proposed talks
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said on Thursday his proposal to hold multi-party talks to restore democracy in Burma was turned down by Burma's ruling junta. Speaking to journalists here after attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore, Gen. Surayud said Burma Prime Minister Thein Sein told the meeting that the junta wanted to work with the world body on the matter.
"Since Burma has made a decision that they would work out the issue with the United Nations, therefore Thailand and ASEAN stand ready to provide any assistance if need arises," said the Thai premier.
Gen. Surayud floated the idea that the United Nations organise regional talks with the involvement of China, India and the 10-member ASEAN to help bring an end to the current crisis in Burma when he met UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari in Bangkok last month.
The Thai leader also said newly-appointed prime minister Thein Sein would like to make his first visit to Thailand on November 29 as a customary practice among new Asean leaders.
Lt-Gen. Thein Sein has officially been declared prime minister of the isolated country following the former premier Soe Win's death October 12.
However, Gen. Surayud said the Burma leader's request could be rescheduled after the new year as Thailand is now preparing for the auspicious occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 80th birthday celebrations next month and gearing up for the December 23 general election.
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