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08BANGKOK1568 2008-05-22 00:20:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

THAI FM TO ATTEND BURMA DONORS CONFERENCE

Tags:   EAID PGOV PHUM PREL BM TH 
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1. (SBU Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama would lead the Thai
delegation to the Burma Donors Conference, MFA Department of
East Asian Affairs Director Kallayana Vipattipumiprates told
us on May 21. He said that the RTG shared USG concerns
outlined in reftel. The Thais had a tentative plan for what
they intended to pledge at the May 25 conference in Rangoon.
However, the RTG awaited forthcoming reports expected from
the visits to Burma of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan before the Thais made
their intentions known. Kallayana also revealed that in the
May 14 meeting between PM Samak and Burmese PM Thein Sein,
the Burmese had repeatedly conveyed their deep appreciation
for USG humanitarian assistance in the wake of Cyclone
Nargis. End summary.



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DONORS CONFERENCE WILL BREAK THE ICE


--------------------------





2. (SBU) The Thais welcomed the May 25 Burma Donors
conference organized by ASEAN and the U.N. and intended to
send FM Noppadon to Rangoon with a pledge for assistance from
the RTG, according to MFA Department of East Asian Affairs
Director Kallayana Vipattipumiprates. The Thais wanted to
make sure that their pledge was appropriate to the needs of
the Burmese and neither too little or too much. At the same
time, the Thais generally shared many of the same concerns as
the USG with regards to providing humanitarian assistance to
Burma. In particular, the RTG agreed with USG statements
that the cyclone disaster had yet to transition from relief
to reconstruction, as purported by the Burmese government.
Therefore, total official assistance pledged by Thailand
would rely heavily on two factors: readouts provided by UN
SYG Ban Ki-moon and ASEAN SYG Surin Pitsuwan following their
meetings with Burmese officials between May 20 - May 23; and
to whom the money was to be pledged (Burmese government, UN,
and/or ASEAN).



3. (SBU) The conference would be a significant event,
Kallayana stated, as it would bring together the
international community to discuss Burma. The Thais expected
to emphasize this development at the conference, and
capitalize on the gathering of so many players interested in
Burma to begin a long term dialogue about the situation in
their neighboring country. "The pledges for assistance would
not end on Sunday," Kallayana pointed out, and he emphasized
that there would have to be follow-up to the conversations
begun at the donors conference. In Kallayana's view, the
conference would focus on what has occurred in Burma over the
past two weeks and what the international community can do in
general terms with regards to relief and reconstruction.



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SAMAK TO DISCUSS PLANS WITH UNSYG


--------------------------





4. (SBU) PM Samak is scheduled to meet with Ban Ki-moon when
the U.N. SYG overnights in Bangkok on May 24, Kallayana told
us. As of today (May 21), the meeting is slated to begin at
5:30 p.m. and continue over dinner to give the two leaders
ample time to discuss the situation in Burma. Kallayana said
that the UN and ASEAN would rely heavily on information
provided by the Burmese government. Considering the extent
of the humanitarian emergency Burma faced, and the effect of
the impending donors conference, he believed that the Burmese
had no choice but to provide accurate information to Surin
and Ban Ki-moon.



--------------------------


BRITISH MAKING SIMILAR POINTS TO RTG


--------------------------



BANGKOK 00001568 002.2 OF 002





5. (SBU) We also spoke with British Embassy Political Chief
Andy Garth on May 21, who indicated that his government
planned to meet with FM Noppadon later that same day to
convey their concerns about the upcoming donors conference,
which were similar to ours. Garth mentioned that his
government had yet to designate participants for the
conference, but that it was considering doing so at the
senior official level, including the head of Britain's
international development agency. He expected that Britain
would follow with USG, French, and German decisions about the
level at which their government would send a representative.



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BURMESE APPRECIATE USG ASSISTANCE


--------------------------





6. (SBU) At the conclusion of our conversation, Kallayana
declared "you know that the Burmese really appreciate what
you are doing." He went on to say that when PM Samak met
with Burmese PM Thein Sein on May 14, the Burmese leader
pointedly mentioned his appreciation for USG humanitarian
assistance to the cyclone victims. Kallayana added that
evidence of this appreciation was the Burmese government's
decision to send their naval Commander in Chief (number five
in the government in Kallayana's estimation) to meet U.S.
Admiral Keating, who accompanied the first USG assistance
flight to Rangoon on May 12.
JOHN