A French Foreign Ministry statement said that apart from bilateral issues Yade would discuss with Kasit the Burma situation.
The statement said the objective of her visit to Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Song Province was to strengthen cooperation between the Thai government and major donors of aid to refugees, including the European Union.
Rama Yade is a 32-year-old career politician who was born in Senegal, West Africa. She has made clear her concern for events in Burma at a number of international gatherings, and at an Asean summit in Singapore in November 2007, two months after the September uprising, she said it was time the grouping tackled the challenges posed by Burma.
“After the tragic hours of repression of the pro-democracy movement, fragile hope has appeared for the people of Burma,” Rama Yade said at the summit. “It is naturally for them to maintain and develop it by envisioning the prospects for the future.”
She said she was convinced the EU and Asean can work together for change in Burma. “I’m certain, at any rate, that we must do so, in the interest of the people of Burma,” she said.
In an article carried by the English-language daily Bangkok Post on Thursday, Yade said France and the EU, “far from preaching,” want to “stand alongside Asean, which at the Cha-am/Hua Hin summit recently reaffirmed its wishes for Burma: democracy, freedom and co-operation with the international community.”
France and the EU also wanted to “give the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General every chance,” she said.
“Expectations will, of course, remain high with respect to Burma, where we share the hope of a return to democracy and freedom, for Aung San Suu Kyi, for all political prisoners and for the population as a whole, and with freedom, the hope of a return to economic development,” she said in the article.
“We are willing to assist and support a genuine process of democratisation that respects the choices of the Burmese after an inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the opposition that everyone hopes for.
“We hold out our hand to people of goodwill in Burma to accompany it in the best possible way on its own path towards freedom.”
The regime’s refusal of cooperation angered the French government, and a joint statement by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Ministry of Defense said: “France reiterates that in her eyes nothing can possibly justify disaster victims seeing themselves denied the basic right to benefit from the necessary aid and stresses her commitment to the implementation of the ‘responsibility to protect’ principle under all circumstances.”