Thai PM to attend 4th GMS Summit in Myanmar, meet Suu Kyi

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BANGKOK, Dec 19 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday will leave Thailand for Myanmar to attend the 4th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit 2011 in the Myanmar capital, Naypyidaw, and was scheduled to meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon before returning to Bangkok.

Ms Yingluck is scheduled to fly from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 4pm to Naypidaw and will then hold bilateral talks with Myanmar President Thein Sein at the Myanmar International Convention Centre.

It was expected that both leaders will discuss the development of cooperation and strengthen bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries after Ms Yingluck made her first visit to Myanmar on Oct 5.

After her visit, relations significantly improved, particularly the Myanmar decision to reopen the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border checkpoint which has been closed since last July.

Tomorrow the premier will attend the opening ceremony of the 4th GMS Summit, followed by a video presentation on the successful cooperation of GMS countries in tourism, agriculture and environmental conservation, discussion on the 2012-2022 GMS Strategy Framework, and the report of the GMS Business and Investment Conference.

The leaders will sign the Joint Declaration of the 4th GMS Summit

The leaders will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on joint cooperation to further accelerate construction of an information superhighway and its GMS applications, and another on establishing a GMS Freight Transporters Association (FRETA).

An MoU on joint action to reduce HIV risks related to population movement is also on the agenda.

After the summit, Ms Yingluck will travel to Yangon to meet Suu Kyi at 5.30pm local time at Thai embassy before returning to Thailand.

The Thai premier said earlier that it would be a good opportunity to meet and exchange views with Ms Suu Kyi as she has fought for democracy in Myanmar and the Thai people also want to see the continued development of democracy in Thailand.

Established in 1992, with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the GMS gathers China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, countries sharing the Mekong River. It is designed to enhance economic relations among these countries.

The GMS summit is held every three years. Cambodia hosted the first in 2002, China chaired it in 2005, and Lao hosted the summit in 2008.