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Burma Announces Dismissal of Prime Minister


Burma's state radio and television have announced that Prime Minister Khin Nyunt has left his post and been replaced. The announcement follows a statement by Thai officials that the prime minister was dismissed and placed under house arrest.

Burma's official state media say General Khin Nyunt retired for health reasons, an expression used in the past when senior officials were obliged to quit their posts.

Burma state media say the new prime minister is Lieutenant General Soe Win, who replaced Khin Nyunt last year on the ruling military junta.

Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said reports indicated that Khin Nyunt was dismissed after being accused of corruption.

"We learned, by far, that there was a change in the premiership of Burma and General Khin Nyunt has been put under house arrest and he received allegations concerning corruption," said Jakrapob Penkair.

General Khin Nyunt was the third-ranking leader in Burma's military junta until he was appointed prime minister last year. He was tasked with implementing a plan to bring democracy to Burma, which has been ruled by the military for more than 40 years.

The plan was aimed at defusing criticism over Burma's human-rights record. The country has been crippled by economic sanctions by Western governments.

But tensions were reported between Khin Nyunt, who headed military intelligence, and the junta's top leaders Senior General Than Shwe and Army Commander Maung Aye. The two hard-liners reportedly were unhappy over the prime minister's efforts to negotiate with pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities.

Under General Khin Nyunt's leadership, the Burmese government earlier this year re-convened a national convention to draft a constitution leading to elections.

But the pro-democracy National League for Democracy boycotted the convention because of the continued detention of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Several other groups also boycotted saying the process was controlled by the military. The convention has been suspended.

Thailand has been trying to assist the reconciliation process in Burma. Government spokesman Jakrapob says he hopes these efforts will continue.

"We sure hope that the situation will resume its normalcy very soon and we are confident that any changes made to the Burmese authority will not jeopardize the good relations that we have between our two countries," he said.

Thai leaders, like many other Asian officials, believe that working with Burmese authorities will be more effective than sanctions in bringing reform. The Thai government is also eager to ease cross-border tensions caused by drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

Burma's state radio and television have announced that Prime Minister Khin Nyunt has left his post and been replaced. The announcement follows a statement by Thai officials that the prime minister was dismissed and placed under house arrest.

Burma's official state media say General Khin Nyunt retired for health reasons, an expression used in the past when senior officials were obliged to quit their posts.

Burma state media say the new prime minister is Lieutenant General Soe Win, who replaced Khin Nyunt last year on the ruling military junta.

Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said reports indicated that Khin Nyunt was dismissed after being accused of corruption.

"We learned, by far, that there was a change in the premiership of Burma and General Khin Nyunt has been put under house arrest and he received allegations concerning corruption," said Jakrapob Penkair.

General Khin Nyunt was the third-ranking leader in Burma's military junta until he was appointed prime minister last year. He was tasked with implementing a plan to bring democracy to Burma, which has been ruled by the military for more than 40 years.

The plan was aimed at defusing criticism over Burma's human-rights record. The country has been crippled by economic sanctions by Western governments.

But tensions were reported between Khin Nyunt, who headed military intelligence, and the junta's top leaders Senior General Than Shwe and Army Commander Maung Aye. The two hard-liners reportedly were unhappy over the prime minister's efforts to negotiate with pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities.

Under General Khin Nyunt's leadership, the Burmese government earlier this year re-convened a national convention to draft a constitution leading to elections.

But the pro-democracy National League for Democracy boycotted the convention because of the continued detention of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Several other groups also boycotted saying the process was controlled by the military. The convention has been suspended.

Thailand has been trying to assist the reconciliation process in Burma. Government spokesman Jakrapob says he hopes these efforts will continue.

"We sure hope that the situation will resume its normalcy very soon and we are confident that any changes made to the Burmese authority will not jeopardize the good relations that we have between our two countries," he said.

Thai leaders, like many other Asian officials, believe that working with Burmese authorities will be more effective than sanctions in bringing reform. The Thai government is also eager to ease cross-border tensions caused by drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

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