SOUTH EAST ASIA: Thai PM Throws Support Behind Suu Kyi

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Bangkok post
South Eastern Asia
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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offered Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi her support in a coming by-election during a historic meeting with the Nobel peace laureate in Burma, government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang said Wednesday.

The two women talked for half an hour at theThai embassy in Rangoon on Tuesday, in a "good atmosphere", the spokeswoman said.

"Aung San Suu Kyi told Prime Minister Yingluck that she hopes to win in the by-election and Ms Yingluck offered her support and her hope that Aung San Suu Kyi will win," Ms Thitima said.

Ms Yingluck expressed support for her neighbour's "path of national reconciliation", adding that its progress was good for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"We have seen the good intentions of Burma's government to open up and to embark on democratic development," Ms Yingluck told reporters back in Bangkok today, adding that future developments should be monitored.

The prime minister rejected reports that her elder brother, fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, helped pave way for the meeting between her and Ms Suu Kyi.

"There are no conflicts of interest [between Thaksin and Burma]," Ms Yingluck said after Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Kraisak Choonhavan asked whether the two leaders discussed business issues.

Thaksin earlier told the Bangkok Post in an exclusive phone interview from Dubai that he travelled to Burma last Thursday and met Burmese President Thein Sein and former president Than Shwe to smooth the way for his youngest sister's visit this week.