Thai PM to meet Myanmar's Suu Kyi next week

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Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Saturday that she would meet Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on a visit to the neighbouring country next week.

Yingluck will travel to Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw on Monday for a meeting of Greater Mekong country leaders before visiting Yangon -- becoming the first Thai premier to meet Suu Kyi, a government spokesman said.

"I will attend the conference on Mekong energy cooperation in Myanmar and will take this opportunity to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi to exchange views and ideas," Yingluck said in her weekly live television broadcast.

"She is a remarkable woman who fights for democracy," she added.

Thai foreign affairs spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said it would be the first meeting of a Thai leader with Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), who has been detained for most of the past two decades.

She was released from her latest stint under house arrest in Yangon a few days after a controversial election in November last year, and has said she will take part in by-elections expected in early 2012.

Since coming to power in March after nearly five decades of outright military rule, Myanmar's nominally civilian government has surprised critics with a series of reformist moves.

Yingluck took office in August after sweeping to a Thai election victory with the support of her older brother, fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

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