Thailand welcomes Myanmar’s invitation for international by-election observers


BANGKOK, March 22 — Thailand welcomed the Myanmar government’s invitations for international representatives as observers for the parliamentary by-election on April 1, saying that the move demonstrates Myanmar’s effort to promote credibility of the upcoming poll, according to Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

Mr Surapong said in a statement issued Wednesday that Thailand welcomes the Myanmar invitation for international representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN member states, together with the accompanying media, as well as representatives from all diplomatic missions, United Nations and international organisations in Yangon to observe the April 1 by-election.

Opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is contesting the by-election which will be held in 48 constituencies.

He said the move was considered an effort by the Myanmar government to demonstrate to the international community its strong commitment to promoting the transparency, accountability, and credibility of the by-elections.

The minister said Thailand was very encouraged by the on-going progress in Myanmar’s democratisation and national reconciliation process and thus reaffirmed Thailand’s strong support for Myanmar’s reforms and development efforts for the benefit of the Myanmar people and the successful future of Myanmar.

Mr Surapong said he encouraged the international community to provide more support in concrete terms to Myanmar’s efforts in its democratisation and the national reconciliation process as well as its economic reforms.

The international media reported that Myanmar President Thein Sein confirmed on Wednesday that his country will allow some foreign election observers to monitor next month’s polls, considered a crucial test of reforms in the country.

Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith was quoted as saying that Mr Thein Sein, now making an official visit to Cambodia, said each of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would be allowed to send two official delegates to watch the April 1 by-elections.