Friday, August 17, 2012

Thai defence minister security with Burmese president

Friday, 17 August 2012 13:24 Mizzima News    

The Thai Defence Minister and Burma’s President Thein Sein stressed cooperation in bilateral security and rule of law, official media reported on Thursday.

Thai Defense Minister Air Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat and the president met in Naypyitaw’s Presidential Palace on Wednesday.

Burmese President Thein Sein shanks hands with Air Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat,  the minister of defence of Thailand, at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Photo: President's Office

Thein Sein was quoted as saying that his last visit in late July to Thailand to discuss economic cooperation in building industrial zones underscored the need to bring stability and development in the border areas.

He said drug cases would be decreased because of stronger cooperation between the two countries, and said Burma plans to establish opium-substitute crop farms and projects at the border areas of the two countries when peace is established.

Suwanatat expressed Thailand's willingness to carry out tasks for development of the villages on both sides of the Thai-Myanmar border and cooperate in fighting illegal immigrants and drug issues, the report said.

Suwanatat also met Burma’s Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Service Vice Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday.

Min Aung Hlaing also received visiting Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom, who also met with his Myanmar counterpart Admiral Nyan Tun on Tuesday before the latter was named vice president on Wednesday by Burma’s Parliament.

Regarding the detention of 92 Thais for illegally crossing into Burma in an effort to set up a rubber plantation, the defense minister said earlier this week he would discuss the issue with Thein Sein to seek to resolve the matter after a Burmese Court delivers its verdict. Thailand must respect the court decision, he said.

The 92 Thai villagers, including 10 women, were detained for encroaching onto Burmese territory on July 4.

The suspects maintained a broker to clear land misled them for a rubber plantation, which they later learned, was beyond the zone authorized by Burmese officials for Thais to use.

Defence ministry spokesperson Col Thanatip Sawangsaeng said the detainees were found guilty on three charges. Eighty-two were sentenced by the Kawthaung provincial court to three and a half years jail for illegal entry.

Another two persons face drug charges and their trial will take place this week, along with eight persons charged with possessing military weapons.

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