The assistant to the foreign minister says that the United Arab Emirates has agreed to cooperate with Thailand in not providing a platform for exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra to launch an attack against the Thai government. Latest report says Thaksin has already left the UAE.
Assistant to the Foreign Minister, Panich Vikitsret revealed the UAE has informed him during his visit there that ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra has left the country since April 20. He did so on requests by the government, fearing dampened relations with Thailand as Thaksin had been using the country to launch verbal attacks on Thailand. However, his destination is not known.
The UAE added further that Thaksin will be admitted back into the country only if he refrains from using it as a base to attack Thailand.
Panich also said the ministry has prepared a draft of a bilateral extradition treaty that it will send to the UAE in an attempt to bring Thaksin back to Thailand.
The draft will have to be approved by the Thai Parliament before the two countries can work on a bilateral extradition treaty, as the UAE also has a suspect in Thailand that they want extradited to the country.
Thaksin, who fled Thailand in 2006 after he was convicted of corruption charges, claims that the trial against him was politically motivated. There are concerns that he is using his Dubai base to wage a political campaign against the Thai government.
Panich said the UAE government as well as Dubai state had given their assurances that they would not allow anybody to launch attacks on Thailand from there.
UAE says Thaksin no longer welcome there
The Foreign Ministry of the United of Arab Emirates (UAE) is ready to cooperate with the Thai government in extraditing outlawed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s assistant Panit Wikitset said on Thursday.
Unfortunately, Thaksin had already left the country.
Mr Panit and Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot were assigned by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as special envoys to forward the arrest warrants for Thaksin to the UAE Foreign Ministry and police.
The envoys visited Abu Dhabi from Sunday to Tuesday and were tasked with negotiating with the UAE authorities to extradite the ousted premier.
Mr Panit said UAE officials told him that Thaksin had entered their country as a businessman on March 27. The UAE government later notified Thaksin that it would not be appropriate for him to stay in the country any longer because he used the country as a base for his political activities.
Thaksin had left the UAE for Liberia on Monday, UAE officials said.
Mr Panit said the UAE government had already received the arrest warrants for Thaksin from the International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol. The UAE insisted it would not let Thaksin re-enter the country if he continued to organise political activities there, he said.
Mr Panit said he had briefed Foreign Minister Kasit on the negotiations.
Meanwhile, there were reports on Thursday that Thaksin was in the West African country of LIberia for talks on a ”huge investment”.
Thaksin was found guilty by the Criminal Court of conflict of interest in the purchase of state land in the Ratchadaphisek area by his ex-wife Potjaman Damapong and sentenced to two years in prison. A warrant has also been issued for his arrest on charges of instigating the riots in Bangkok last week.
Mr Panit said similar diplomatic action would be taken against fugitive anti-government core member Jakrapob Penkair, one of 13 United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders named in arrest warrants for causing the Songkran holiday unrest.
Red-shirt leader Jakrapob fled abroad and later gave telephone interviews to foreign news agencies, saying he would continue activities aimed at toppling the Democrat-led government.
Thaksin flees UAE after extradition pledge
The United Arab Emirates has promised to try to arrest fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra although he has fled the sultanate since April 20, Vice Minister Panit Vikitseth said on Thursday.
UAE foreign affairs authorities revealed that Thaksin’s arrival took place on March 27 declaring himself as businessman, Panit said.
After Thaksin used the UAE as his base to attack Thailand triggering the Songkran mayhem, he was reprimanded to stop his hostile action, he said.
Thaksin fled to an undisclosed location after Thailand notified the UAE about his passport cancellation and his arrest warrants were circulated via Interpol.
Panit paid a visit to the UAE on April 19-to-21 as a special envoy dispatched by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Panit’s mission was to speed up the extradition of Thaksin.
He said the UAE authorities recieved the notification of Thaksin’s passport cancellation, his two warrants on the conviction on the Ratchadapisek land case and on involvement in inciting the mayhem. The warrants were sent via Interpol.
The UAE also acknowledged the letter from the Muslim community in Phetchaburi Soi 7 pleading for a stop to sheltering Thaksin who incite the red shirts for violent attack on the the community’s masjid.
Runaway former Thai PM Thaksin in Liberia
Fugitive ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is in Liberia, Africa to explore Thai investment and cooperation, Star Radio of Liberia reported on Tuesday.
Thaksin has held talks with Liberia’s Vice President Joseph Boakai aimed at exploring avenues for a huge investment in Liberia.
The radio quoted Thaksin as telling Boakai that it is his strong intention for Thailand to have good relations with African Countries.
According to him, Thailand would like to share its success and failure in the areas of agriculture and poverty eradication.
He said his group is interested in oil and mineral exploration and extraction, agriculture, telecommunication license and Lottery.
The Thai billionaire arrived in Liberia early Tuesday and would continue his journey to Ivory Coast and other African Countries on Wednesday.
Making remarks, Boakai welcomed Thaksin and delegation and urged the Thais to investment in Liberia as the country has all of the minerals.
Govt formally requests UAE to extradite Thaksin
Former premier reported to have arrived in Liberia
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government was waiting for a reply from the UAE on the kind of cooperation the Middle East country was willing to provide.
Thaksin often uses Dubai, part of the UAE, as his base to conduct political activities in Thailand.
Panit Wikitset, assistant to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromoya, told reporters the UAE was willing to cooperate with the government, but had yet to discuss details of the extent of any cooperation.
Panit said the UAE government had received arrest warrants for Thaksin from the International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol.
He said the UAE had informed the fugitive premier that it was not appropriate for him to use their country as a staging ground for his political activities and therefore he should leave.
But it is not clear whether Thaksin, who left Abu Dhabi – also in the UAE – on Sunday, would be permitted to reside in the UAE if he stopped using the country as a base to attack Thailand, or whether he would be arrested and deported to Thailand the minute he returned to the country.
Panit travelled to the UAE with Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot last Sunday to formally request the Gulf state to extradite Thaksin.
Panit said the government would continue to lobby other countries to assist Thailand in denying Thaksin a political base to attack the government.
The UAE came under an unwanted spotlight after a group of Thai Muslims in Bangkok made a public plea to the country not to give Thaksin sanctuary.
They were angered at the fact that Thaksin’s red-shirt supporters had attacked their community on Phetchaburi Road, Sois 5 and 7, and thrown a home-made bomb inside the mosque there.
Panit said a letter from the Muslim community in Bangkok had also been handed to the UAE ambassador to Thailand.
Thaksin has been on the run since his ouster in 2006 by a military coup, living in various locations around the globe and holding regular meetings outside the country with his supporters.
A number of countries, including the United Kingdom, have denied him entry.
He was yesterday reported to have landed in Liberia, where he supposedly met with the country’s vice president, Joseph Boakai, to discuss a plan for a “huge” investment in the West African nation.
A local radio station quoted Thaksin as telling Boakai that it was his strong intention for Thailand to have good relations with African countries.
According to the station, he said Thailand would like to share its experience in the areas of agriculture and poverty eradication.
Meanwhile, co-leaders of the anti-government red-shirt movement, which has been supported by Thaksin, said they remained firm on the principle of peaceful struggle and were not supporting fellow co-leader Jakrapob Penkair‘s idea of effecting change through an armed fight.
“The idea of guerrilla warfare came from Jakrapob alone, and none of the other red-shirt leaders agree with him,” said co-leader Jatuporn Promphan.
Jatuporn insisted that he and co-leaders such as Veera Musigapong and Natthawut Saikua were in complete agreement about bringing about change via peaceful means.
By The Nation
Published on April 24, 2009