If fugitive politician Thaksin Shinawatra decides to take up residence in Cambodia the government will seek his extradition back to Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Thursday.
Mr Suthep was not surprised by the remark by Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth, a key member of the opposition Puea Thai Party, that Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen had offered Thaksin a home, as they were close friends.
“But this was proof that Gen Chavalit visited Cambodia in the interests of Thaksin. The meeting between Gen Chavalit and Hun Sen on Wednesday was purely aimed at creating a good image for the deposed premier,” he said.
Chawanont Intarakomalsuth, secretary-general to the minister of foreign affairs, said he did not believe Hun Sen would build a home for Thaksin as Gen Chavalit had said.
He was confident that Hun Sen would give more importance to Thailand as a country than to any particular person, even if he was a close friend of Thaksin.
Thaksin’s younger sister Yaowares Shinawatra insisted that her brother has no residence in Cambodia and she had no idea whether Hun Sen had built a home for Thaksin as reported.
Thai PM rebukes Cambodia’s invite to Thaksin
BANGKOK, Oct 22 (AFP) – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva rebuked neighbouring Cambodia’s premier Hun Sen Thursday for his offer to let fugitive former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra stay “anytime”.
Abhisit told reporters that his Cambodian counterpart should keep friendship and politics apart.
“I have talked with Hun Sen several times and he’s told me that he’s Thaksin’s friend but that he will separate friendship from duty and international affairs,” said Abhisit.
“I have told Hun Sen that anyone who (is) appointed to an important position must separate personal relations,” he said.
Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and continues to live in exile after fleeing in August last year to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption.
Abhisit reiterated his deputy’s announcement that the government would seek Thaksin’s extradition if he ever set foot in Cambodia.
“Once Thaksin enters Cambodia the extradition process will begin. If Cambodia failed to comply with (the) treaty, that would be another story,” he said, adding that he hoped to meet with Hun Sen at the weekend.
Regional leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are heading to the Thai coastal town Hua Hin on Friday for a regional summit.
Earlier, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, in charge of national security, told reporters that Hun Sen should not meddle in Thailand’s affairs.
Cambodia’s state-run TVK said Wednesday that Hun Sen made the overture to Thaksin during a private meeting Wednesday with Chavalit Yongchaiyuth, a key member of Thailand’s main opposition party Puea Thai.
Thaksin, on his online Twitter feed, thanked Hun Sen for the invitation but stopped short of accepting it.
He said that he was currently staying in Dubai.
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 the Preah Vihear temple for decades. Tensions spilled over into violence in July last year, when the temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Thai government has repeatedly attempted to arrest Thaksin abroad, but the former premier travels on various passports. (AFP)