Sunday, October 25, 2009

PM hopes to end Cambodia spat


Published: 25/10/2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

CHA-AM : Thailand still hopes for an end to the spat with Cambodia as the Asean summit draws to a close today.

CONTENTIOUS: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during the 15th Asean summit in Cha-am yesterday

Asean leaders will wrap up their three-day meeting in Cha-am district in Phetchaburi, and Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan today with the East Asia summit between 10 Asean leaders and their counterparts from China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and India.

Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that the government had no plans to confront Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen over the Thaksin issue.

"The press conference by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [on Friday] was Thailand's toughest stance from the leader," said Mr Panitan.

On Friday, Mr Abhisit clearly sent the message that his Cambodian counterpart had to choose between his personal relationship with ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and good relations with Thailand.

Hun Sen's offer of a temporary home for Thaksin, a position as an economic adviser and his refusal to extradite Thaksin if he comes to Cambodia has upset the government.

A government source said the Cambodian leader's remarks were a shock for diplomats, and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya noted that they were "unacceptable".

Mr Kasit intended to give a press conference to counter Hun Sen's statement, but was stopped from doing so by Mr Abhisit, who decided to give the press conference himself, the source added.

The Thai and Cambodian leaders have no current plans for bilateral meetings in the near future due to their tight schedules, according to Mr Panitan.

The acting spokesman said the government was keeping an eye on Thaksin, and there were suspicions that he could be in a Southeast Asian country.

"The Thai government has been tracking Thaksin's travels in the Asean region over the past few weeks.

"But until now there has been no confirmation that he entered Cambodia recently," said Mr Panitan.

The Democrat Party yesterday pressed the Cambodian leader to clarify his previous statements about Thaksin, and party spokesman Buranat Samutharak called his remarks an intervention in Thailand's affairs.

Meanwhile, Veera Somkhamkid and a group of supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy yesterday submitted a letter to demand Hun Sen withdraw soldiers and personnel from the 4.6 square kilometre disputed area near the Preah Vihear temple within seven days.

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