Monday, October 23, 2006
After arriving at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Surayud will proceed to Malacañang for talks with Mrs. Arroyo, Malacañang said in a statement Sunday.
An “expanded bilateral meeting” will take place between the two Southeast Asian leaders which will also be attended by senior officials from both sides, the Palace said.
The President “is expected to convey to the Thai prime minister the desire of many countries for the expeditious restoration of political normalcy in Bangkok,” the statement said.
The leaders will also explore ways of further strengthening bilateral relations. The Philippines and Thailand are among the founders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which also groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
Surayud is to return to Bangkok after the meeting.
Manila solution might help Thais solve southern insurgency:
The PM Speaking to journalists after bilateral talks with Philippine President Gloria Arroyo at Malacanang Presidential Palace, Prime Minister Surayud said he discussed the Thai Muslim insurgency with the Philippine leader, saying that the unrest in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces is similar to that in the southern Philippines.
Thai prime minister explained to President Arroyo his views on Thailand ‘s current political situation following the September 19 coup d’etat. He said that Thailand is proceeding on a democratic path with a new constitution-drafting assembly will soon be established.
Arroyo saluted Surayud for his clear presentation of his plan to restore constitutional democracy within one year. The Philippine president said she welcomed Surayud’s plans to restore democracy.
ASEAN and the wider community of nations offered hope and encouragement to Thailand and the Thai leader in working to nurture both democracy and peace, President Arroyo stated, affirming goodwill as Gen. Surayud’s interim government works to empower the Thai people to retain and affirm their “indomitable spirit”.
The Philippines is currently serving as chairman of ASEAN. Speaking favourably regarding the example of the Philippine solution, Surayud said that as Manila and the Abu Sayyaf rebels have now agreed to seek a truce pending peace talks to end the violence there, Thailand might learn from them as role models.
“I appreciate the role of the Philippine government in adopting the right approach to tackle insurgency in its southern region,” Surayud said. “I told President Arroyo it might be a lesson for Thailand to learn from to end the ongoing insurgency in its three southern border provinces.”
The Philippines, a Roman Catholic majority country, has experienced a separatist rebellion and deadly attacks by Islamic militants. The Arroyo government is holding peace talks with the main Muslim separatist group.
Surayud also pledged to hold the next general election within the promised timeframe.