Thai PM Srettha says Myanmar regime 'losing strength'

Thai PM Srettha says Myanmar regime 'losing strength'
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he and other officials have been talking to various stakeholders in Myanmar.
PHOTO: Reuters

KOH SAMUI, Thailand — Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told Reuters now is a good time to open talks with Myanmar as the military regime that seized power in a 2021 coup is weakening.

Myanmar is in the throes of an insurgency on multiple fronts, with allied anti-junta groups backed by a pro-democracy parallel government seizing control of several military posts and towns, including parts of a key town on the border with Thailand over the weekend.

The insurgency is the biggest challenge the Myanmar junta has faced since it mounted a coup against an elected government in 2021.

"The current regime is starting to lose some strength," Srettha said in an interview on the resort island of Koh Samui on April 7. "But even if they are losing, they have the power, they have the weapons.

"Maybe it's time to reach out and make a deal."

Thailand has been pursuing multiple engagements with Myanmar since Srettha came to power in August, including delivering aid to Myanmar under a humanitarian initiative aimed at paving the way for talks between warring camps.

The Thai Parliament also hosted a seminar in March on the political situation in Myanmar that included the appearance of opponents of Myanmar's military, despite the junta's objection.

Srettha said Myanmar was very important for Thailand, and that he and other Thai officials have been talking to various stakeholders in Myanmar and international partners including China and the US.

"The country that stands to gain most if Myanmar becomes unified, peaceful and prosperous is Thailand," he said.

The Thai government will not take sides in international conflict and its policy will be to address conflict peacefully, government spokesman Chai Watcharong said in a statement on April 8 after media enquiries about the situation in Myanmar.

Srettha said he is planning to talk internally to Cabinet ministers, senior military and security officials on April 9 to streamline government policies on Myanmar.

"I'm meeting five or six people who are the key players and making sure that we are on the same page," he said.

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