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PM may visit Burma soon

PM may visit Burma soon

Then Bangkok Post, December 7, 1997

Arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai's visit to
Burma, army chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro said yesterday.

Gen Chettha said he has liaised with Burmese leaders to arrange for Mr
Chuan's visit which may take place soon.

The visit by premier, who is concurrently defence minister, will help
strengthen relation with the neighbouring country, he said.

Meanwhile, the army is to send in troops to protect all border forests from
illegal loggers.

The move comes because Gen Chettha has been stung by criticisms that the
military has not done enough to stop illegal logging. The attack followed
the discovery of around 2,000 logs in the Salween National Park in Mae Son,
bordering Burma.

Gen Chettha said the attacks were unjustified because the national park was
overseen by the Forestry Department, which had not asked for military help.

Soldiers later moved in and successfully drove the loggers away.

Gen Chettha said the army would from now on take control of all areas
within three kilometres of the borders, no matter which agencies were
overseeing them.

He said the army did not want to interfere with any agencies but
safeguarding national security came first. The army was willing to
cooperate with Forestry Department.