MANAMA : The United Arab Emirates has promised to expel ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and send him to Thailand if he is found in Dubai. While the two countries do not have an extradition treaty, there is a reciprocal arrangement that allows for the exchange of fugitives.
The issue was raised in talks between Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on the sidelines of the meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in Bahrain.
Mr Kasit said Thailand had already sent six fugitives to the UAE as requested by Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Abdullah admitted Thaksin had stayed in Dubai, Mr Kasit said.
The UAE was looking into the issue of whether Thaksin had re-entered the country by possibly using a passport from another country or another name..
Thaksin told supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship last Saturday he was making the phone call from Dubai.
Meanwhile, the Asean and GCC foreign ministers have agreed to set up working groups to study the possibility of a free trade agreement, economic cooperation, and cultural and education issues in order to strengthen their ties.
Mr Kasit said cooperation on free trade would help reduce trade barriers and regulations as economic cooperation would look into the food security and investment on alternative products.
The two regions issued a statement paving the way for joint projects in fields such as the economy, trade, investment, finance, food security, energy, transport, telecommunications, industry, agriculture, environment and consular cooperation.
The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE and Kuwait. Yemen is an observer.
Asean and the GCC also agreed to promote tourism and foster contacts including exchanges of students and academics. Mr Kasit said he had persuaded the GCC states to invest in food processing such as rice mill and fisheries.
By: THANIDA TANSUBHAPOL , Published: 1/07/2009 at 12:00 AM