Thai Prime Minister to consider lifting martial law

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Whilst on a visit to Indonesia, the Thai Prime minister Surayud Chulanont indicated that martial law imposed following the bloodless September 19 coup may soon be lifted.

Surayud was appointed Prime Minister on October 1 by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the head of the military junta that overthrew the government of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Currently touring the various ASEAN nations, Indonesia is the fourth stop for the new PM.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post the discussions between PM Surayud and his Indonesian counterpart President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono included calls for the state of martial law in Thailand to be lifted as well as discussions on the unrest in Thailand's muslim-majority south.

In a statement from Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, the retired privy councilor turned PM was said to be prepared to "consider carefully" calls for the lifting of martial law and that he found Indonesia's approach to the problems they had with rebels in Aceh province "inspired".

Also on the agenda during the discussions were sharing of experience with avian flu. Indonesia has seen 55 people die from the disease.