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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Suthep insists 'secret talks' allegations a Hun Sen plot

Allegations of "secret talks" about the overlapping maritime area levelled by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen are only an attempt to discredit the Democrat Party, says former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

Mr Suthep, now a Democrat list MP, was responding to Hun Sen's comments during a press interview that he and Mr Suthep held secret talks at his residence at Ta Khmau in Kandal province about the overlapping Gulf of Thailand maritime area, rich in oil and natural gas.

A Cambodian website, called 15th Move, posted Hun Sen's comment which was on the website of the Cambodian Prime Minister's Office and published in Cambodia's Koh Santipheap daily.

"Suthep visited Cambodia three times. The first visit was in April to convince [me] to attend the Asean meeting in Pattaya ...

"Later he came to Cambodia again, along with the defence minister, but they did not talk about oil issues. On June 27, my wife did the cooking for them.

"But it was strange that Mr Suthep brought with him a document about an oil block in the sea and told me that Mr Abhisit [Vejjajiva, then prime minister] assigned him to ensure the negotiations were concluded during the Abhisit government.

"But I responded by saying that I have my deputy prime minister responsible for overseeing the matter. I cannot be a negotiator with Your Excellency ..."

"Since leaving office, Mr Abhisit came out to attack [Cambodia] saying that the two countries are at odds because the Thai government [when Abhisit was prime minister] _ did not serve Cambodia's interests.

"I wanted to say to Abhisit that if the previous government was at odds [with Cambodia], so who sent the negotiators for secret talks?" the website quoted Hun Sen as saying.

Mr Suthep said it was clear that Hun Sen had now sided with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Hun Sen's actions were intended to protect Thaksin, not Cambodia's interests, Mr Suthep said. He admitted meeting Hun Sen but denied the talks were intended to remain secret.

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