[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
Thailand Chavalit vow to support Bu
- Subject: Thailand Chavalit vow to support Bu
- From: nin@xxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 21:51:00
Subject: Thailand Chavalit vow to support Burma Democracy
(AWSJ):Thailand Chavalit Vows To Support Burma Democracy
SAKHON NAKHON PROVINCE, Thailand (AP-Dow Jones)--If he becomes prime minister
after Sunday's elections, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said, he will travel to Burma
to urge its military junta to move toward democracy, reports Monday's Asian
Wall Street Journal.
Burma is 'about 50 years behind what is going on in the world, in the
region,' Chavalit said in an interview Saturday aboard his campaign bus. 'So if
I come (to be prime minister), I have to go again' to Burma.
The message he will deliver to his counterpart in Burma, which is now called
Myanmar: ''Brother, you have to join us now; you are left behind. For what?' I
have to convince him, to make him understand. Myanmar should change.'
Chavalit has a longstanding relationship with Burma's State Law and Order
Restoration Council, or Slorc, as the junta calls itself, which took power in
1988 after clashes in Rangoon between the military and pro-democracy
demonstrators left thousands dead.
In December of that year, Chavalit, then Thailand's army commander-in-chief
and acting supreme commander, was the first senior foreign official to visit
Burma after Slorc took power.
Chavalit said that during his 1988 trip he urged Burma's leaders to hold
elections, which they did in 1990. Although Aung San Suu Kyi's National League
for Democracy won, the regime ignored the results and has since harshly
suppressed the opposition.
Chavalit has also had a long involvement with Thailand's other deeply
troubled neighbor, Cambodia. As army chief in the 1980s, Chavalit was involved
in conveying aid from the U.S. and other nations to Cambodian forces fighting
the Vietnam-installed government in Phnom Penh.
Several months ago, he helped arrange the reconciliation between the
Cambodian government and a faction of the Khmer Rouge led by Ieng Sary.
In an interview in Hong Kong last week, Cambodia's Second Prime Minister, Hun
Sen, said: 'We have a good relationship with Chavalit, and Chavalit contributed
a lot to the peace in Cambodia.'
Without Chavalit's help, Hun Sen said, he could never have signed the peace
agreement with Ieng Sary. 'Only those involved know the importance of
Chavalit's role in this process,' he said.
Portraying himself as a democrat, a peacemaker, and a responsible economic
leader, Chavalit, 64, has been pursuing political power through elections ever
since giving up his post as military chief in 1990, two years before reaching
mandatory retirement age.
'I had already finished my job as army commanding general and supreme
commanding general,' he said. 'I had brought peace to the country already. I
had made good friends of all my neighboring countries. Everything was settled.
No more problem with security.
'I had an audience with His Majesty the King asking for permission to
retire,' Chavalit said. 'He asked me, `Do you have any problems?' I said: `No
sir, I just want to continue my job, to finish it, to bring prosperity to the
'The only way to bring prosperity to the country is to bring democracy...once
there is no more poverty, or very few poor people, that finishes my job.'
(END) AP-DOW JONES NEWS 18-11-96