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Yingluck pushes Dawei, meets Suu Kyi

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two of Southeast Asia’s most prominent women leaders met in Rangoon on Tuesday. Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra talked with Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for more than 30 minutes at the Thai ambassador’s residence.

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra poses in Naypyitaw before a gala dinner at the 4th Greater Mekong Subregion Summit in Burma's capital on Monday, December 19, 2011.   Photo: AFP “They talked friendly and frankly about the interests of the two countries,” said National League for Democracy (NLD) information officer Ohn Kyaing.

Early Tuesday morning, Yingluck attended the 4th Mekong River Summit in Naypyitaw, where Asian leaders made long-term plans to enhance transportation corridors uniting the region.

Thailand’s exiled ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s older brother, told The Bangkok Post by phone that he smoothed the way for Yingluck’s visit to Burma and the meeting with Nobel laureate Suu Kyi.

Thaksin said Burma had never allowed the top leaders of other countries to hold such a meeting before.

Thaksin visited Burma on December 15 and met with President Thein Sein and former junta leader Than Shwe, the newspaper reported.

A source in Naypyitaw said Thaksin also traveled to the Dawei (Tavoy) deep-sea port project site, where he spent one night. Thaksin arrived in Burma via a special flight from Cambodia.

A source said, “The chairman of the Italian-Thai Company and a Thai government minister came by air to welcome Thaksin. They spent a night there.”

The Italian-Thai Development Company is behind the development of the deep-sea port and the Dawei economic zone project. The company is now conducting a survey to build a highway to link Dawei to Kanchanburi, Thailand.

The Bangkok-based Nation newspaper reported that Yingluck would push the Dawei project while at the summit meeting. She would emphasis the mega project’s special economic zone under bilateral cooperation, a government official familiar with the GMS strategy said.

After the meeting in Naypyitaw, Yingluck would ask her cabinet to voice full support for the Dawei project, the newspaper reported.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who accompanied Yingluck to the GMS meeting, said Dawei would be a core cooperation project between Thailand and Burma to enhance the two countries' economic development.

Surapong plans to visit Dawei early next month together with ministers of finance, industry, energy and transport in a bid to speed up development of the project, which is overseen by the Thai construction firm. The US$ 58 billion development project is designed to transport gas to Thailand.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 December 2011 23:24 )  

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