Tonga confirms Thaksin’s Nuku’alofa visit

thaksin_tonga

Tonga’s Prime Minister’s office has confirmed the ousted Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, has been in the country this week, reports Radio New Zealand International

TongaMap

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga —– Tonga’s Prime Minister’s office has confirmed the ousted Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, has been in the country this week, reports Radio New Zealand International A government spokesman in Nuku’alofa said his visit was privately arranged and included no meetings with officials.

Mr Thaksin was in Fiji earlier this week, amid speculation that he was seeking safety in a country with no extradition treaty with Thailand. The former Thai politician, whose Thai passport has been cancelled, is wanted in Bangkok to answer corruption charges.

On his way to Fiji, he narrowly escaped arrest in Malaysia during a refuelling stop of his private jet. Mr Thaksin spent a day in Suva and met with Fiji’s leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Island Business

Thu, 9 Jul 2009
 
 

Thaksin fled to Pacific islands

NUKU’ALOFA – OUSTED Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra flew to the Pacific islands this week, a Tongan government official confirmed on Thursday.

Thaksin is wanted in Thailand to face jail on corruption charges after being removed in a 2006 coup and has been in exile, living mainly in Dubai.

‘He was here on Tuesday,’ the Tongan official, who did not wish to be named, told AFP, adding he understood Thaksin left on Wednesday for Fiji.

‘He talked to someone at Foreign Affairs, who looked after him,’ the official said, without giving any further information on the purpose of the visit.

Thaksin had been in Fiji before going to Tonga and a government spokesman confirmed he had on Monday met military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama, who overthrew the elected government in a 2006 coup.

‘They sat and discussed some business proposal over dinner and that was it,’ government spokesman Neumi Leweni told Fiji commercial radio.

He gave no further details of the meeting, although reports in Fiji and Australia suggested Thaksin was offering hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in return for using Fiji as one of his bases in exile.

The Australian newspaper said Thursday Thaksin was believed to be heading next for Port Vila in Vanuatu, where leaders from the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji – are meeting on Friday.

Thailand in April revoked Thaksin’s passport for allegedly inciting protests that disrupted a major Asian summit in the coastal resort of Pattaya, although he has reportedly been issued passports by other countries, including Nicaragua. — AFP

STRAITS TIMES

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