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Govt calls for Thaksin's arrest

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Borders will remain open, says Suthep

  • Published: 11/11/2009 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: News
Thailand has asked the Cambodian authorities to arrest former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra following his arrival in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Thaksin Shinawatra arrives in Phnom Penh yesterday to take up his posts as economic adviser to the Cambodian government and personal adviser to PrimeMinister Hun Sen.
A source at the Foreign Ministry said the request from the Office of the Attorney-General had been forwarded to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh along with details of the 2008 court ruling which found Thaksin guilty of corruption.

The request for Thaksin's arrest would be conveyed to the Cambodian government no later than today, the source said.

The move is the first step in the process of having the ousted prime minister returned to Thailand to serve his two-year jail term. The call for his "provisional arrest" would soon be followed by an extradition request, the source said.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced Thaksin in October last year to two years in jail after finding him guilty of a conflict of interest involving the 2003 Ratchadaphisek land purchase case.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said the Thai government would wait for Phnom Penh's response to the request for Thaksin's arrest before deciding on its next move.

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong yesterday ruled out the extradition of Thaksin.
He said: "We will not extradite him. We already clarified this case because he is a political victim."
Thaksin landed at Phnom Penh International Airport in a private jet and was escorted into the capital in a convoy under tight security.

"Thaksin is here for the economy and no activities related to politics," Cambodian cabinet spokesman Phay Siphan said. "It is an honour for Cambodia's economic sector and we hope that Cambodians nationwide welcome him warmly."

Thaksin is expected to stay for a few days and is due to address 300 Cambodian economists in Phnom Penh tomorrow as part of his new post.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last month asked Thaksin to become an economic adviser to his government.

State television yesterday showed Thaksin and Hun Sen embracing. The Cambodian leader reportedly pronounced him an "eternal friend" as well as "the best adviser with economic leadership".
Thaksin reportedly thanked Hun Sen for offering him the post of economic adviser and said "nothing can compare" to his excitement in taking up the new role.

Hun Sen and Thaksin were seen laughing and chatting at a house specially prepared for the exiled leader, but Thaksin said on Twitter he was "really homesick".

"Tonight I will dine with Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family. I want to reiterate that nation, religion and monarchy are always in my mind," Thaksin wrote.

Phay Siphan said Hun Sen would host a lunch today for Thaksin "because the two leaders are close friends".
"He is coming to give a lecture only, so I believe that he will not do anything related to political activity here," Phay Siphan told reporters.

Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors last week in an escalating row over Thaksin. His presence on Thailand's doorstep is the closest he has come to his homeland since he left in August 2008.
Despite the growing diplomatic tension, Mr Abhisit and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday said Thailand would not close its border with Cambodia.

Mr Suthep, who supervises security affairs, said the border crossing would not be sealed because people on either side were related and they deserved to live a normal life.

However, the Thai government would continue to stress that Thaksin was using Cambodia as a base to hurt the Kingdom, he said.

"We must tell the world community that we love peace and want to maintain friendship with neighbouring countries," Mr Suthep said.

"But the government of the neighbouring country happens to accommodate the one who is hurting our country, hurting our people and hurting our (royal) institution. We must speak out."



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