By WASAMON AUDJARINT
MYANMAR’S State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi will visit migrant workers in Mahachai again when she arrives in Thailand for an official visit this month.
The fate and well-being of millions of people from Myanmar who work in Thailand will be highlighted during her visit from June 23-25, Foreign Minister Don Pramuwinai said. Suu Kyi will visit a Myanmar community in Thailand but the location has not yet been fixed, he said.
However, Chiang Mai-based website The Irrawaddy reported that she would visit the fishing town of Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province, which is home to a large Myanmar migrant worker community.
“She will go and meet them in order to hear their experiences and the difficulties they are facing,” Myanmar Foreign Ministry director-general Kyaw Zeya was quoted as saying in regard to Suu Kyi’s trip.
Suu Kyi met migrant workers from Myanmar in Mahachai during a visit in 2012 when she spoke at the World Economic Forum in Bangkok. She also visited Mae La refugee camp in Mae Sot.
About 120,000 refugees – mainly ethnic Karen and others who fled conflict and repression at home – have lived in border camps in Thailand for more than 30 years. Tens of thousands more have been resettled abroad.
Officials from both countries have discussed plans to repatriate them for years once conflicts with the military and government were settled. The previous administration headed by Thein Sein signed a ceasefire deal with eight groups last October but seven others refused to be part of it.
Some groups that signed the pact are still involved in conflict.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that this country would help Myanmar carry out national reconciliation by “not supporting” minority groups to fight the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army).
He stressed that Thai assistance would be what has been requested by Nay Pyi Taw and not according to a Thai agenda. “They asked us, so we have to help them,” the PM said at his weekly news briefing. “We’re not poking our noses in their [Myanmar] affairs,” he said. “They have to operate their domestic things. Do you like when foreigners come to try to organise our conflicts and the referendum [process] in our country? Aren’t you ashamed of that?”
He denied any plan to negotiate with Suu Kyi on these matters. “I can’t negotiate. These affairs do not belong to my country,” he said.