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Thailand PM to meet Myanmar junta leader

Surayud Chulanont will pay a goodwill visit to the country and hold talks with Prime Minister Soe Win. It gave no further details.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 15:31 IST

Thailand's military-installed premier will visit neighbouring Myanmar later this week for talks with its junta leader at the country's new administrative capital, officials said on Monday.

Surayud Chulanont will make a one-day trip to Myanmar's new capital Nay Pyi Taw, some 350 kilometres north of Yangon, on Thursday to meet junta leader Than Shwe, the official said.

The state-run daily New Light of Myanmar also said on Monday that the Thai premier would "pay a goodwill visit" to the country and hold talks with Prime Minister Soe Win. It gave no further details.

Surayud was installed by the military, which ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup on September 19, while Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.

Myanmar is the last of Surayud's trips to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Analysts had seen his avoidance of Myanmar as a snub to the junta, and an effort to avoid uncomfortable comparisons with the military dictatorship.

The two neighbors have close relations, although Surayud's efforts to curb drug trafficking on the border when he was Thailand's army chief had angered Myanmar.

Thailand is increasingly turning to Myanmar to tap the country's vast natural resources to fuel its own growing economy.