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Prime Minister Arrives in Burma for Bilateral Talks

Prime Minister Hun Sen arrived in Burma for a three-day visit Monday, where he is expected to discuss trade and direct flights between the two countries with the junta's current leader, Thien Sein.

Regional issues and greater bilateral cooperation will also be discussed, Hun Sen adviser Sri Thamrung told reporters in Phnom Penh Monday.

"We have past agreements which we haven't implemented, namely civil aviation and tourism," Sri Thamrung said. "So I think that this time the direct flights might be realized because we have been discussing this for awhile."

Burma, also known as Myanmar, and Cambodia are both members of Asean. In April 2005, Burmese Prime Minister Soe Win paid an official visit to Cambodia, but he has recently falled ill, passing leadership responsibilities to Thien Sein.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh adviser Ok Socheat, a former ambassador to the Philippines, said Hun Sen should use the visit to the push to free Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.

"If the visit to Myanmar is important, it would have to be that Cambodia helps in solving democracy issue, freeing Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest," he said.

Though Burma's human rights record is widely criticized, Asean nations have a general agreement not to interfere in the internal political affairs of other member nations.