'Myanmar junta nixes multi-party forum'

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Bangkok, Nov 22: Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said today Myanmar had shot down his proposal to get Southeast Asian nations, China, India and the United Nations to discuss democratic reforms in the army-ruled nation.

Surayud had raised the idea of a forum of concerned parties similar to the six-party talks on North Korea in October when the Thai leader met UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari in Bangkok.

Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein told Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Singapore this week that the ruling junta did not want such a forum, Surayud said.

''Since Myanmar has decided it wants to work with Gambari and the United Nations by itself, we just have to let it go,'' Surayud told reporters on his return from Singapore.

Thein Sein, appointed prime minister after the October death of his predecessor, had asked to visit Bangkok on November 29 as part of a regional introductory tour.

But Surayud turned him down, saying Thailand would be busy with campaigning for the December 23 general election and preparing for the 80th birthday of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

''I have told him to visit us after this auspicious year. We would be ready then,'' Surayud said.


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