Thailand PM to arrive in Myanmar next week

Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed after the September 19 coup, is expected to make a visit to Myanmar on November 23.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 15:39 IST

Thailand's military-installed premier is set to visit military-ruled Myanmar next week to finish his diplomatic rounds to neighbors in Southeast Asia, officials said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, who was appointed after the September 19 coup, is expected to make an official visit to Myanmar on November 23, officials said.

"Details of Surayud's visit to Myanmar are still being considered by officials in Myanmar, including who he would meet with and the agenda to be discussed," an official at Government House said.

"It is likely to be a one-day trip, like visits of the premier to other neighbouring countries," said the official on condition of anonymity.

Surayud has already visited all the other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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

Surayud last week said that Thailand's post-coup government and Myanmar were "in the same shoes", but pointed to the one-year timeline given by the Thai junta for holding elections and urged Myanmar to also move toward democracy.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.

The two neighbors have long had 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.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 13:40 IST