Friday, November 27, 2009

FM Kasit: Thailand won't negotiate with Cambodia as long as Thaksin advises

BANGKOK, Nov 27 (TNA) - Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya on Friday asserted that Thailand will not open negotiations to settle the diplomatic row with its neighbour Cambodia as the problem was caused by its neighbour when Cambodia appointed fugitive ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as its economic adviser.

Mr Kasit commented as former Thai foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai advised the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to open talks with the Cambodian government first to end recent diplomatic falling out which deteriorated relations between the two kingdoms.

The minister reaffirmed that Thailand will not begin negotiations as long as the fugitive ex-Thai premier remains in the post and the Cambodian government still "meddles" with Mr Thaksin.

He said that it is not about "losing face" because Thailand has its own dignity, saying the problem was initiated by the Cambodian government and should be ended by Phnom Penh.

Mr Kasit also denied a news report that the Thai foreign ministry has submitted a letter to the Cambodian government calling for Mr Thaksin's dismissal, saying that the ministry has already disclosed what it had done, and that it has nothing to hide.

The foreign ministry has done everything in its power to help the detained Thai engineer being held in a Cambodian prison over spying charges and provided a lawyer for him, but the case must proceed under the Cambodian judicial process, he said.

Diplomatic ties between Thailand and Cambodia worsened after the Cambodian government appointed the fugitive ex-Thai premier as its economic adviser and personal advider to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Both countries recalled their respective ambassadors in retaliatory action, while the Cambodian government rejected Thailand's request to extradite Mr Thaksin.

The Cambodian authorities then arrested Siwarak Chutipong, an employee of Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS), charging him with acquiring secret information considered to affecting Cambodia's national security after he was accused of releasing Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule to a Thai embassy official in Phnom Penh.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Defence Minister Gen Tea Banh who is now attending the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) meeting in the Thai seaside resort of Pattaya, southeast of Bangkok on Friday reiterated that legal action against Mr Siwarak will proceed under international legal practices and with fair treatment.

Gen Tea Banh expressed confidence that problems will be sorted out and Cambodia will not complicate the case of the Thai engineer by mixing it with other issues.

However, he said the period of detention depends on the legal procedure and the court ruling.

The Cambodian defence minister reasserted that the arrest of the Thai citizen has nothing to do with politics, but is because his actions are an offence under Cambodian law. (TNA)

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