Cambodian President Hun Sen has built a house for Thaksin Shinawatra to stay in his country whenever he wants to, Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said on his return from Cambodia on Wednesday.
Gen Chavalit left on Wednesday morning for a visit to Cambodia at the invitation of Hun Sen.
The former prime minister, now a member of the Puea Thai Party, said he met Hun Sen and the Cambodian leader expressed deep sympathy for Thaksin.
The Cambodian leader said Thaksin was not given justice and had nowhere to go despite the fact that he had done a lot for the country, Gen Chavalit said.
Gen Chavalit was full of praise for Hun Sen. He said Hun Sen had built a beautiful house to receive Thaksin who was welcomed at any time.
Hun Sen will host Thaksin ‘anytime’
PHNOM PENH – CAMBODIAN Prime Minister Hun Sen is prepared at ‘anytime’ to host his ‘eternal friend’ the fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the country’s state television reported on Wednesday.
State-run TVK said that Mr Hun Sen made the invitation during a private meeting Wednesday with Chavalit Yongchaiyuth, a key member of Thailand’s main opposition party Puea Thai.
The overt invitation to Thaksin, who fled Thailand in August 2008 to escape a jail term for corruption, is likely to frustrate Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has had strained relations with his Cambodian counterpart.
If ‘former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra wishes to travel to Cambodia anytime… the Cambodian Prime Minister is ready to prepare a residence for (his) stay in Cambodia,’ the television channel reported.
Mr Hun Sen also promised to boost relations between his ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the Puea Thai Party, the report said.
Relations between Cambodia and Thailand have been difficult for months amid an ongoing border conflict. The two governments have been at loggerheads over the land around Preah Vihear for decades. Nationalist tensions spilled over into violence in July last year, when the temple was granted Unesco World Heritage status. — AFP
Cambodian PM Offers to Host Fugitive Thai Ex – PM
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has offered to host his “eternal friend,” fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, at any time, state television reported on Wednesday.
Hun Sen conveyed his message to Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, a Thai political heavyweight and close Thaksin aide, in comments likely to rile a Thai government anxious to minimise the billionaire’s influence from exile.
State-run TVK said Hun Sen described Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, as an “eternal friend” and said he had a residence in Cambodia waiting for him.
“Thaksin is a political victim and I take pity on him,” Hun Sen told reporters after meeting Chavalit, a key member of the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party, in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
Hun Sen pledged his support for Puea Thai, Thailand’s main opposition and the latest incarnation of Thaksin’s disbanded mass Thai Rak Thai party.
His comments came on the eve of a summit of Asian leaders in Hua Hin, Thailand, where Hun Sen is due to meet his Thai counterpart Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose fragile government is battling to survive amid mass protests by Thaksin’s supporters.
Hun Sen caused a stir this month when he ordered troops to shoot any Thai crossing illegally into Cambodia, as nationalist tensions mounted over an 11th century temple the two countries have fought over for decades.
Hun Sen previously threatened to boycott the Hua Hin meeting over the temple row, but has confirmed he will attend, while missing Friday’s opening ceremony.
Thaksin, who scored an unprecedented two landslide election victories, has been living mostly in Dubai since skipping bail in August 2008 ahead of a two-year prison sentence for graft.
He owns a private jet and has travelled the world on various passports, including one from Nicaragua, and continues to rally his supporters in video addresses from exile.
Analysts say with Thaksin’s vast war chest and huge support among the rural masses, Puea Thai would likely win the next election, a scenario that would lead to more instability in a country dogged by four years of intractable political strife.
Chavalit, an influential former prime minister who joined Pueu Thai last week, said Hun Sen saw Thaksin as a victim of a political vendetta.
“Hun Sen feels Thaksin has been unfairly treated. He says he has done so much for the country but he has no country to live in,” Chavalit told reporters on his return to Bangkok. “He will build a house in Phnom Penh for Thaksin to live. He said there’s no need to stay in Dubai, he can come any time he wants.”
(Additional reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Ron Popeski)
The New York Times
By REUTERSPublished: October 21, 2009
Cambodia offers home to Thaksin
Ousted PM is welcome anytime, says Hun Sen
Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been offered a home in Cambodia by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh says.
Gen Chavalit yesterday paid a one-day visit to Phnom Penh and said Hun Sen was willing and prepared to host Thaksin if he wished to visit Cambodia.
He said arrangements had been made to welcome the ousted prime minister who has fled a two-year jail term for malfeasance in the Ratchadaphisek land purchase.
- See also: Hun Sen insists on temple-area troop cut
Gen Chavalit said Hun Sen was full of praise for Thaksin and expressed sympathy for the “political injustice” he suffered in Thailand.
“He [Hun Sen] feels Thaksin is not fairly treated, politically,” Gen Chavalit said. “Despite having contributed to the country, he has no place to stay. Hun Sen is in pain even though he is not a Thai.
“So he feels the need to make it publicly known he and Thaksin have always been friends.”
Gen Chavalit quoted Hun Sen as saying “Thaksin is welcomed in Cambodia”.
AFP also reported that state-run TVK said the Cambodian prime minister made the invitation during a private meeting with Gen Chavalit. If “former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra wishes to travel to Cambodia anytime … “, the television channel reported.
Thaksin spends most of his time in Dubai since fleeing the country.
Gen Chavalit’s one-day visit to Phnom Penh was at the invitation of the Cambodian prime minister. He was greeted by Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh.
The Cambodian prime minister also sought to bolster relations between his ruling Cambodian People’s Party and Puea Thai, an official in the Chavalit delegate said.
Gen Tea Banh was assigned as a coordinator for the Cambodian People’s Party while Gen Wichit Yathip was named a coordinator for the Thai side, the official said.
Hun Sen’s invitation came days after Gen Chavalit joined the opposition party – a reincarnation of the two dissolved People Power and Thai Rak Thai parties.
Gen Chavalit’s joining of Puea Thai was followed by a parade of some 50 former classmates of Thaksin from Class 10 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School to the party.
Hun Sen’s remarks are likely to frustrate the Thai government which has tried to establish Thaksin’s whereabouts to facilitate its attempt to extradite him and make him serve his two-year jail term.
The remarks are also considered untimely ahead of the Asean summit which starts tomorrow.
Gen Chavalit played down speculation that Hun Sen’s comments could cause a further deterioration in relations between the two countries. Border tensions have simmered in past months over the Preah Vihear temple issue. Both countries lay claim to the overlapping areas of 4.6 square kilometres near the temple ruins.
“The country’s disputes will have to be dealt with. The relationship between Hun Sen and Thaksin is another matter,” Gen Chavalit said.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said before Gen Chavalit’s departure to Phnom Penh the meeting between the Puea Thai chairman and Hun Sen was “normal”.
“Such a meeting is normal,” he said. “I have once visited the Cambodian government [as part of] an opposition party,” the prime minister said.
Mr Abhisit said he did not think the government’s authority would be overshadowed by the opposition because it was clearly known who was the government and who was on the opposition bench.
Gen Chavalit said the government should not be concerned about his trip. It was a private visit, not a state affair, he said.
Bangkok Post / Published: 22/10/2009