Monday, November 30, 2009

Hun Sen blasts Thai leaders


PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen criticised Thailand's leaders Monday, saying they had insulted his country after Phnom Penh refused to extradite fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Hun Sen said that his country would "have no happiness" while Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his foreign Minister Kasit Piromya were still in power.

"I'm not the enemy of the Thai people... But the prime minister and the foreign minister, these two people look down on Cambodia extremely," Hun Sen said in a speech at a provincial ceremony.

"Cambodia will have no happiness as long as this group is in power in Thailand," he added.

The two countries have fought clashes near a temple on their disputed border since last year and were embroiled in a row this month when Thaksin visited Cambodia in his new role as an economic adviser to Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen said he would not extradite Thaksin, who was toppled in a coup in 2006 and is living abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, because his conviction was politically motivated.

The two countries withdrew their respective ambassadors and Thailand halted a series of aid programmes to Cambodia.

The Cambodian leader slammed a further Thai threat to close the border between the two countries, saying: "If you are (an) idiot, if you want the loss, please do it."

Hun Sen said he informed Abhisit that Cambodia was cancelling an agreement under which Bangkok would make a 1.4-billion-baht (41.2-million-dollar) loan to upgrade a highway from the Thai border, and would review other Thai loans.

"I told Abhisit that I and my people felt hurt when (we) heard you talk about halting aid and loans," the Cambodian premier said.

Now stop talking this language. It is cheap and childish language," he said, adding that he had worked with 10 Thai premiers and "Abhisit is the PM who is hardest to work with".

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