Monday, September 19, 2011

Thaksin not into Gulf oil,gas, says Noppadon

The Democrat Party should stop faulting former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, his legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said yesterday, arguing the main opposition party had no evidence implicating Thaksin in the alleged conflict of interest in Cambodia.

"I have been offering Bt100 million reward for anyone who can prove that Thaksin has business interests in the oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Thailand - but the Democrats have nothing to back up their allegations," he said.

Noppadon said the Democrats should not try to portray him and Thaksin based on false evidence.

"If the Democrats want to be critical, their views should be based on facts," he said.

He said Thaksin and he were among recipients of medals awarded by the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International in Phnom Phen in recognition of their international service, denying the medals belonged to the Cambodian government.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he was still waiting for the government to clarify how it would proceed on troop withdrawals from the disputed area covering 4.6 square kilometres near the Preah Vihear Temple.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha seemed to have made conflicting remarks as Yingluck said she would deploy policemen but Yuthasak insisted the troops would remain, he said.

He said Yingluck should have been firm and consistent on Thai sovereignty over the area instead of wavering between uncertainty about the territorial jurisdiction and conceding the area as being in dispute.

The inconsistent stand might adversely impact on the review by the International Court of Justice, he said.

He reminded the government that the 2004 Thai-Cambodian Memorandum of Understanding on overlapping martime zones should not be reactivated without rectifying certain flaws, such as the Cambodian claim over Ko Kut, also known as Koh Kood.

Echoing Abhisit, Democrat spokesman Chavanont Intarakomalyasut said Yingluck might have made it more difficult to resolve the issue over the temple and its vicinity.

The prime minister should not make differing statements on the issue, that she might not have known all the background related to the dispute, he said.

One day the prime minister refused to confirm the land belonged to Thailand - and reversed her position the next day via Facebook message, he said.

He said Thailand would be at a disadvantage if relying solely on the 2004 MOU to negotiate on the oil and gas concession.

In regard to the move to extradite Thaksin from Cambodia, he said Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul had all the details about Thaksin's whereabouts and activities in Phnom Phen, hence he was obligated to inform the Office of the Attorney General to issue an extradition request.

"The government has pertinent information for the extradition request," he said, arguing for the activation of the extradition process even though the Cambodian authorities might not cooperate.

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