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Myanmar PM on official visit to Singapore

world Updated: Mar 17, 2009 13:11 IST

AFP
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Myanmar's Prime Minister General Thein Sein arrived in Singapore on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, the government said.

He was welcomed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was scheduled to host an official dinner in his honour, an AFP photographer said.

Thein Sein had earlier visited Jakarta, where he met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for talks on the Rohingya asylum seekers and economic ties.

Military-ruled Myanmar is the most controversial member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which also includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Thein Sein took over as prime minister from General Soe Win, who died on October 12, 2007 after a long illness.

The Myanmar regime is accused of systematic human rights abuses but calls for reform from fellow ASEAN members have been ignored by the generals.

Then Sein's visit comes after hundreds of people from the Rohingya minority in Myanmar were found adrift in dilapidated boats with little food and water off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island near Singapore earlier this year.

Photographs apparently showing the Thai army towing migrants in boats out to sea and lining Rohingya men up on a beach have been published in the international media.

Rohingya rescued at sea said they had fled Myanmar for Thailand but were rounded up and taken out to open waters with limited supplies.

Thailand has denied the accusations, while insisting the problem of illegal migration to its shores must be dealt with regionally.