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Feb 16, 2010 (DVB)-Thai Minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Kasit Piromya has expressed desire for and pledged to support free and fair elections in Burma on an official visit to Indonesia.
"As friends and members of the ASEAN family we would like to see national reconciliation and peace in Myanmar (Burma). Holding free and fair elections will allow the country to bring peace and reconciliation back" Mr. Piromya told the Indonesian press, according to the Jakarta Post.
Both Mr. Piromya and Thai Senator and Chair of the ASEAN Inter Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) Mr. Kraisak Choonhavan noted that the interests of Thailand would be best served by free elections in Burma.
"Those who are forced to participate will eventually have to flee to Thailand", Mr. Choonhavan told DVB; perhaps referring to the large numbers of elected Burmese MP’s forced into exile after the last election in 1990.
"One thing is clear, that the referendum (2008 referendum on the constitution) was exclusive and the activities of the SPDC such as this has proved that this election will not be up to standard at all, in fact it will be very sub standard" he continued.
Mr. Piromya meanwhile revealed in Indonesia that Thailand would offer to send observers to Burma as well as train election officials in the country who may lack practice after 20 years; a proposal that Mr. Choonhavan speculated as "not even in their [junta] thoughts".
He continued that; "Some ASEAN countries may accept so called Burmese ‘elections’ and call it a step forward in Burma, mainly countries like Cambodia, I worry that there will be differences in opinions in the ASEAN countries as to how to look at elections in Burma".
"Indonesia is one country that has verbally opposed the constitution in Burma and has stood very strongly on the ASEAN charter on the abuses in Burma", however; "Vietnam will be the chairman of ASEAN when the supposed elections take place".
Meanwhile senior general Than Shwe stated during his Union Day address that "free and fair" elections would be held "soon" but no date has been set.
Hopes were raised recently however, when the military government released National League for Democracy (NLD) deputy 83-year old Tin Oo.
The former brigadier and defence minister has been under house arrest for the last 6-years and his military background is seen as potential bridge between junta and civilian politicians.