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Thai-Burma talks seek to promote fr

Thai-Burma talks seek to promote friendship

The Nation, December 3, 1997

When Thailand and Burma meet for their fourth joint commission session in
Bangkok this weekend, representatives will discuss ways to promote the
Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge in Tak province, a government source said

The source said those attending the meeting, which will be chaired by
Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan and his Burmese counterpart U Ohn Gyaw,
will also discuss strengthening bilateral trade and other cooperation.

Senior officials will meet on Sunday to prepare topics for Monday's
ministerial-level session.

The bridge is operation and linked to a permanent checkpoint. Thais are
currently allowed to drive across Moei River and enter Burma's Myawaddy
Town. Burmese people can drive into Tak province.

"During the meeting, both sides will discuss whether to extend the distance
the people and vehicles can go on both sides. There are some details that
both countries had to discuss and settle about the vehicles," the source said.

Vehicle entering Thailand are required to be insured, the source said, but
most Burmese cars are not insured so "the Thai side will ask Burma to
consider such a requirement".

Other topics of discussion will include the progress of cooperation
projects such as the training of Burmese officials in such fields as human
resource development, the source said.

The source denied that both sides would discuss postponing the
Asean-European Union meeting over the criticism Asean has received from the
EU over the grouping's acceptance of Burma earlier this year.

The Foreign Ministry had said that people-to people contact would be
featured prominently in bilateral relations with Burma.