26 Oct 2009

Hun Sen's words linger

The problem caused by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's comments was not serious enough for Thailand to sever ties with Phnom Penh and will not have any adverse effects on the 15th Asean Summit, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday.
After arriving at Hua Hin Airport to attend the15th Asean Summit on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters that he would welcome fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Cambodia, would deny extradition and would appoint him as his economic adviser. Asked whether Thailand would seek Thaksin's extradition, Mr Abhisit said it was still uncertain whether the fugitive former prime minister would really be staying in Cambodia.
He earlier asked Phnom Penh to reconsider.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya's secretary, Chawanon Intharakomansut, said the Foreign Ministry had not asked the government to consider downgrading diplomatic ties with Cambodia in response to Mr Hun Sen's statements.
"We'll observe Cambodia's reaction now that Prime Minister Abhisit has called on the Cambodian premier to reconsider this issue carefully and focus on bilateral ties and benefits to both countries instead of one person's personal interests."The Thai government would look for new ways to bring Thaksin back to Thailand if the Cambodian government refuses to extradite him," he said.Three senators on MOnday called for Prime Minister Abhisit to issue a formal response to the Cambodian leader‘s “unethical” action in using the regional summit to show his personal support for Thaksin.Senators Paiboon Nititawan, Khamnoon Sithisamarn and Sumon Sutaviriya said at a press conference that the prime minister's verbal responses were not enough. He should also issue a formal statement on the Cambodian prime minister's unethical use of the international forum in Hua Hin.Mr Khamnoon said Mr Abhisit's statement should adhere to diplomatic principles but at the same time clearly show Thailand's standpoint regarding Thaksin.He urged the government to announce an indefinite delay of parliament's consideration of three memoranda of understanding on Thai-Cambodian border talks over the 4.6-square-kilometre area in dispute around the Preah Vihear temple, as required by Article 190 of the constitution, to show its dissatisfaction with the Cambodian leader.Mr Khamnoon said most people were very unhappy with the Cambodian premier’s announced stance, which had sowed the seeds of conflict between the Thai and Cambodian people.Therefore, the prime minister should counter Mr Hun Sen's action with a formal statement..Mr Paiboon called on the government to adopt a tough policy with Cambodia and give more importance to national integrity and existence than to trivial economic interests.Burmese people in Thailand were very displeased that Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen likened his friend Thaksin with the plight of their arrested democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, by saying they were both victims of political persecution.His comment caused a group of Burmese politicians, students and villagers to gather near the Burmese border in Tak's Mae Sot district on Monday morning. "Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 years, is an unconditional fighter for democracy, has never thought of fleeing the country and is not fighting for her personal interests. She cannot be compared with Thaksin," a Burmese student said.

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