28 Oct 2009

Thaksin is Cambodia-bound

As protesters gathered at the Cambodian embassy on Tuesday, the fugitive ex-premier said he wants to pay respects to Cambodian Premier Hun Sen for offering to lay out the welcome mat for him.

Ex-PM wants to thank Hun Sen for job offer

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra insists he will go to Cambodia to thank Prime Minister Hun Sen for laying out the welcome mat for him.

Thaksin said he would fly to Cambodia soon to thank Hun Sen, a party source said.

Thaksin said he and Hun Sen had been friends for a long time.

Thaksin also thanked Puea Thai's new chairman, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, for "doing the right thing".

He denied having any businesses in Cambodia, saying he had sold them all before entering politics, the source said.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday claimed he had cleared up Hun Sen's misunderstanding of Thaksin's situation.

Mr Suthep, who is in charge of national security, said he told Hun Sen Thaksin had not been bullied. He had broken the law and the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions had jailed him for two years after a proper judicial hearing.

He explained Thaksin was not living in exile because of the 2006 coup.

Mr Suthep said Thaksin was fielding members of the political party he controls in elections and they had won. But two party prime ministers had to step down because they had violated the law.

"It's too late to say he has been unfairly treated. If he accepted the constitution and had not fielded candidates in the general election, it would be another story," Mr Suthep said.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen understands this point well."

The Cambodian prime minister was told that if he allowed Thaksin to live in exile in Cambodia, Thailand would use international law to seek his extradition.

"I said it was fine because the law will not be interpreted by me and Mr Hun Sen alone. There is an extradition process, and the court might be the one ruling on the extradition," he said.

The Cambodian premier said on his arrival at the Asean summit in Thailand last weekend that his government would allow Thaksin to take refuge in Cambodia and work as his economic adviser. Cambodia would not extradite him if asked by Thailand as Thaksin had been unfairly treated, he said.

The Foreign Ministry is preparing to issue a statement explaining the facts relating to Thaksin's status in response to the remarks by Hun Sen. The statement will be sent to the Cambodian government as the ministry believed the remark was a result of misinformation, said Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda yesterday insisted Hun Sen's stance on Thaksin had no effect on the situation along the Thai-Cambodian border.

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