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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Put country above self, Abhisit tells Thaksin

By The Nation on Sunday



Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday hit back at ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, calling on him to review his stance over becoming an economic adviser to Cambodia.

The premier said Thaksin should put the country's interests ahead of his own and not hurt its relations with neighbouring countries.

Responding to Thaksin's statement accusing the government of using internal politics to pressure Cambodia, Abhisit said the government did not start the problem. He said it started when Cambodia announced its decision to appoint Thaksin an adviser, which adversely affects Thailand's justice system.

"I have met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen many times and we had good understanding, till Pheu Thai Party chairman General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh went to Cambodia and Thaksin was appointed as economic adviser to Cambdodia. The problem then started. Thaksin is a Thai, he should be sensitive and not blame the government,'' he said.

Abhisit said the government's downgrading of the country's relations with Cambodia was not too severe and would not lead to military clashes or affect bilateral trade.

He said Thaksin must review his stance in accepting to become an economic adviser to Cambodia because he knew all information as he had headed the government when Thailand signed the Memorandum of Understanding over the maritime overlapping zone.

"Which government will let the country lose its leverage and allow its justice system to be questioned? If we had not done that, how could have we have protected the country's interests?'' he said.

He said Thaksin's decision to side with Cambodia raised more suspicions against him over allegations that he had a vested interest over the signing of the MoU with Cambodia to seek interests in the overlapping zone.

"This make people wonder why Thaksin seems to be concerned about the interest of other countries more than his own country. They wonder whether he has a self-interest in that,'' Abhisit said.

The premier denied that the government was provoking nationalist sentiment, saying Thaksin was the one who had a problem not having nationalism.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday said the party was concerned about recent opinion poll results, which showed that a majority of respondents supported the government's retaliation against Cambodia. He said both the Dusit Poll and Abac Poll were not impartial and the party would conduct a survey to find out the public response to the move.

He said Thaksin would on Tuesday clarify his stance about accepting the advisory position and the MoU agreement with Cambodia.

Pheu Thai MP Surapong Towichakkul challenged that if the Democrat Party believed the poll results that its popularity had surged it should dissolve Parliament and call a general election.

Also yesterday Borwornsak Uwanno, secretary-general of the King Prajadhipok's Institute, said the government had reacted correctly by recalling Thailand's ambassador to Cambodia. He warned, however, that the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia could lead to the dissolution of Asean.

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