Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fugitive ex-Thai PM Thaksin visits Cambodia

Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (L Front) is welcomed by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An (R Front) upon his arrival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sept. 17, 2011. This is the fourth time Thaksin visited Cambodia since he was toppled. (Xinhua/Phearum)

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra arrived in Cambodia early Saturday at 1:45 a.m. (local time) for friendly and economic talks.

His visit was made just after his sister Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra made a one-day official visit to the country on Sept. 15.

At the Phnom Penh International Airport, Thaksin was welcomed by Cambodian deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Thaksin shortly talked to reporters at the airport that he felt warm welcome when he arrived.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Monday this week that during the visit, the former Thai PM will meet with him at the Peace Palace and also give lectures on Asian economic future in two separate conferences.

Hun Sen said Thaksin will also schedule to play golf with him and may stay in Cambodia until on Sept. 24 to join a friendly football match between Cambodian high-ranking officials and Pheu Thai's Members of Parliament at the Phnom Penh's Olympic Stadium.

The premier said that the Thaksin's visit was to exchange ideas on economic development, not to negotiate with Cambodia on either the plan for oil and gas joint development of overlapping maritime claims in the Gulf of Thailand, or border conflict.

"Thaksin has no duty to negotiate on oil and gas deal and other issues with Cambodia at all as it is the duty of Thai government, not Thaksin," the premier said Monday during a graduation ceremony of students at the National University of Management.

On Friday night, a group of Pheu Thai Party's Members of Parliament led by Jatuporn Promphun arrived in Phnom Penh in order to meet with Thaksin. The group was greeted by Maj. Gen. Hun Manet, Prime Minister Hun Sen's eldest son and deputy commander of the Headquarters of Infantry.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a bloodless coup in 2006, has been living in Dubai to avoid a two-year jail term for violating a conflict-of-interest law.

He is a close friend of Hun Sen and used to be the economic advisor to Cambodian government and Hun Sen from November 2009 to August 2010.

This is his fourth time he visited Cambodia since he was toppled.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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