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Senior Thai Commander Attends Hospital Inauguration On Behalf Of PM - 2003-12-27


A senior Thai commander has opened a hospital in Burma's troubled border region.

Thai media reports that Lieutenant General Picharnmeth Muangmanee, accompanied by Burmese officials, officiated at the ceremony for the medical facility which was funded by Bangkok.

The general was standing in for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who at the last minute canceled his one day trip after a Thai security team said the situation there was not safe.

He had planned to travel with his Burmese counterpart, Khin Nyunt, to the area which is controlled by Burma's United Wa State Army. The group is accused of being heavily involved in the drug trade.

The Bangkok Post, quoting senior Thai sources, says drug traffickers planned to attack the two leaders with surface-to-air missiles when they boarded a helicopter to visit the remote village.

There have been rumors that Burmese drug traffickers were plotting to kill Mr. Thaksin in retaliation for lost business from Thailand's anti-drug campaign.

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