'UN alone cannot bring about change in Myanmar'

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Bangkok, Oct 13: The United Nations by itself may not be able to bring about political reconciliation and a democratic transition in Myanmar, Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said here today.

''The recent calls from the UN Security Council have yet to lead to changes in Burma. Everybody still questions whether the UN is capable of influencing developments there,'' the Thai prime minister said in a weekly television address which comes two days ahead of UN's special envoy Gambari's visit to Thailand.

''Given the (UN's) existing personnel and budget (on Myanmar issues), I do not see any chance for such changes,'' he added.

Mr Surayud said Thailand would continue working with ASEAN nations to promote political reconciliation in Myanmar.

Pointing out that Myanmar like Thailand is a member of the 10-nation Southeast Asian nations' forum, the prime minister said that ASEAN would have to work closely with the UN and key Asian countries like China and India to speed up reconciliation within Myanmar.

He also added that he has been reluctant to criticise the military junta in Naypyitaw too strongly as his own government was not democratically installed.

''We would be able to speak more clearly on democracy if our government was not coming from appointment. We must not forget who we are,'' he admitted.

''As a Buddhist country, we disagreed with the violence dealt out by the Myanmar government, especially against the monks,'' Mr Surayud said.

''But if we do anything that will cause bad feelings with our neighbour, that will be problematic for the new elected government,'' he added.

''My government, therefore, is very careful on this issue.'' ''I think we could pressure them more if we are not an appointed government,'' he said, adding that Thailand continued to stand by the Association of South East Asian Nations' (ASEAN) principle of ''constructive engagement'' with the generals.


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