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Thaksin Defends Trip to Burma in Radio Address


Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has defended his surprise visit to Burma earlier this week.

In his weekly Saturday radio program, Mr. Thaksin said the only purpose to his controversial one-day trip was to seek Burmese cooperation on several bilateral issues, including energy development projects.

Mr. Thaksin said he also relayed the positions of international organizations in his talks with Burma's military leaders.

Thailand's foreign minister accompanied Mr. Thaksin on the journey. He said on their return that the Thai delegation tried to make clear to Burmese leaders that progress would be a positive thing for their country.

He also expressed disappointment that Burma has refused to set a timetable for the release of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma has come under increasing pressure from its Asian neighbors and Western nations to speed up democratic reforms and to free Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 to honor her leadership of the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma.