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PM Prayut briefs Ban Ki Moon on progress to democracy

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha briefed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Thailand’s progress towards building a sustainable democracy during a meeting in Japan last week that ended with Ban inviting Prayut to attend the General Assembly meeting in New York in September. 
 
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the U.N.'s Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, on 14 March.  Asia and the Pacific is the region of the world most prone to natural disasters, and Thailand has been a leader in Disaster Risk Reduction in East Asia since the massive tsunami of December 2004.
 
In addition, Ban invited Prayut to attend the U.N. Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.
 
The Prime Minister pointed out to Ban that a key issue in that agenda is also an issue that has caused conflict and political turbulence in Thailand: disparities in income, wealth and opportunities.  Prayut said disparity is the root cause of social conflict.
 
The Prime Minister explained the workings of the National Reform Council, which is seeking to overhaul important sectors in Thai society such as education, civil rights, politics, administration, land rights and putting an end to corruption.  He stressed that reforms are being designed in ways that should reduce disparities and provide greater fairness to all.
 
Prayut explained that Thailand is not abandoning democracy, but is determined to create a democracy that fits its social conditions and does not create conflicts that pit different groups in society against each other.
 
He updated Ban on progress in drafting a new constitution, in which input from the people is being sought and incorporated by the charter drafters.
 
The Secretary General replied that he hoped Thailand will succeed in building a sustainable democracy, and that a return to democracy would enhance Thailand’s role in supporting various U.N. missions, such as Disaster Risk Reduction.
 
On a global level, Prayut said, the disparities between agricultural and industrialized nations was also a cause of conflicts and tensions and needs to be addressed.
 
He asked the UN to highlight the significance of agricultural price subsidies as a way to reduce the economic disparity and enhance international cooperation.  He said many agricultural-based Southeast Asian countries were struggling to cope with falling crop prices that increase poverty among their rural populations.
 
The U.N. in principle tends to oppose agricultural subsidies because they lead to market distortions and can result in non-tariff barriers to trade and investment.  Many countries, however, including developed countries, employ various forms of subsidies to support their farmers and agricultural sectors.
 
See the original article at: http://www.thaiembassydc.org/?p=2528

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