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Prayut tightens border controls

Posted by pakin On October - 10 - 2014

PM forges security deal with Myanmar

Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to strengthen cooperation through their “partnership for security and development” by regulating border areas and pushing for a comprehensive development plan in a bid to solve long-standing problems along the frontier.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked Myanmar for its understanding about the situation in Thailand and for standing by its side. He pledged to support Myanmar in implementing reforms and development in that country.

Gen Prayut, also chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and his delegation were warmly received by Myanmar officials at Nay Pyi Taw International Airport as he kicked off his two-day visit there yesterday.

Myanmar President Thein Sein led Gen Prayut to review a guard of honour at the presidential office, where the official welcoming ceremony was held.

Gen Prayut and his delegation discussed several issues regarding cooperation at the talks with Thein Sein.

During the talks, the two leaders agreed to extend cooperation in solving border problems such as illicit drugs and migrant labour as they considered them as partnership matters for security and development, a source said.

Thailand has put illicit drug problems on its national agenda and Myanmar was willing to provide full cooperation, the source said.

The two countries agreed to efficiently regulate labour, reduce red tape in the registration of migrant workers and cut labour-related costs.

The influx of illegal migrant workers, human trafficking and plans to develop economic zones in border areas to boost trade, investment and create jobs in the areas were also discussed.

Under the economic zone development, Mae Sot border district of Tak province would be chosen as a pilot project, the source said.

Thailand and Myanmar have agreed to push for the Dawei special economic development zone project following the selection of private firms to invest in the first phase of the project.

Gen Prayut asked Thein Sein to boost the investment channels for the Thai private sector in basic infrastructure development and transportation projects in the next phase of the Dawei special economic zone.

On energy cooperation, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed to cover energy sales, basic infrastructure development of power, gas pipelines, alternative energy and petroleum.

The two leaders yesterday signed three MoUs to establish sister provinces along the border areas — Chiang Mai and Myanmar’s Kentung, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Myeik, and Ranong and Kawthaung.

Gen Prayut yesterday gave cash donations to a Thai-Myanmar friendship school in Myanmar.

The prime minister and his delegation were scheduled to leave for Yangon today to meet Thai businessmen based in Myanmar at 8.30am. They were due to return to Thailand at 4.25pm.

Gen Prayut has chosen Myanmar as his first official port of call abroad because Myanmar is chair of Asean this year.

Before flying to Myanmar, Gen Prayut said Thailand and Myanmar would discuss cooperation on security, economic and social issues.

Meanwhile, the Dawei Development Association (DDA) has urged Myanmar and Thailand to refrain from reviving the Dawei special economic development project unless the problems associated with the project are addressed and best international practices are put in place.

Based on information about future work to be carried out, it is estimated 20 to 36 villages (comprising 4,384 to 7,807 households or 22,000 to 43,000 people) would be directly affected by the construction of the Dawei special economic development zone and related projects, including industrial estate, ports, road links, reservoirs and resettlement areas.

Limited information about the project, a lack of meaningful consultation, a flawed compensation process and a lack of accountability have shown that both governments have failed to address these problems. If the governments want to revive the project they would need to address the problems first, the DDA said.

“Local communities have not been provided with adequate information about the project,” said Thant Zin, coordinator of the DDA.

“They have been forced off their land without fair or adequate compensation. There is also no remedy for those whose rights have been abused.”

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