The Nation - Saturday, November 08, 2003
Reverend Jesse Jackson said before leaving Bangkok yesterday that his
meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had been 'most
Jackson said Thaksin had assured him that he would visit Ban Kwai
refugee camp in Mae Hong Son province and ensure the refugees there are
better cared for.
has agreed to go and see them and ... agreed to improve their living
conditions,' said Jackson, referring to the camp that is populated by
18,256 mostly ethnic Karennis who have fled the repressive military
junta in Burma.
Human-rights groups earlier expressed concern over Thaksin's plan to shut down all the camps.
praised Thaksin's leadership. 'I was impressed by his willingness to be
a link between the Pacific Rim and the US. Thailand will emerge as the
biggest force in the region.'
Thaksin represents security, does not tolerate corruption and has a sound knowledge of the United States, Jackson added.
Thaksin told the media on Thursday that he would not pressure Burma to
change, Jackson insisted that change in Burma was 'irreversible',
adding that the PM must be the bridge-builder and ensure that those in
camps have 'safe refuge'.
was concerned about the possible repercussions of bilateral free-trade
agreements between the US and Thailand and other countries in
undermining multilateral trade agreements under the aegis of the World
When asked about
the prime minister allegedly condoning over 2,000 extrajudicial
killings by the police in the war against drugs, his refusal to reveal
the names of the dead, and accusations of the premier buying off and
manipulating local media and government restrictions on anti-war
protests, Jackson said: 'Obviously I couldn't address all those
issues... Conflicts exist in all societies and should be dealt with
through dialogue and not violence.'