Monarchy 'is not plaything of politicians'

National reconciliation can be achieved if the monarchy is left out of conflicts, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says.The reconciliation process can get going only if the institution of the monarchy is left untouched and is not dragged into conflicts, he said.

He said the quest for reconciliation requires common ground to be reached that will bring people together.

Anything that will trigger conflict should put on the back burner, the opposition leader said.

His comments came after a meeting on Saturday with Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr Abhisit said Thailand and other Asean member nations hoped that the recent reforms in Myanmar will continue to progress steadily.

He told Mrs Suu Kyi he supported the reform process in her country.

Myanmar, which was under military rule from 1962 to 2010, has undergone significant reforms since President Thein Sein took office in March last year, sparking optimism the country is heading toward a more democratic system and an open economy.

Western governments have imposed sanctions on Myanmar since 1988, but are now considering lifting them to reward Thein Sein's reforms.

Mr Abhisit said he and Mrs Suu Kyi also exchanged views on political conflicts in Thailand and efforts to bring about national reconciliation here.

He said achieving reconciliation in any country often depends on the attitude of its leaders.

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, have also weighed in on the reconciliation issue.

They were in Bangkok over the weekend as guests of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission.

Mr Annan stressed that national reconciliation must be a participatory process and a shared responsibility of government and political leadership, civil society and religious groups.

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