Friday, March 16, 2012

Pheu Thai members head to Cambodia to meet Thaksin

columnistBangkok Post
March 16, 2012
Aekarach Sattaburuth

Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has arrived in Cambodia to visit the sick father of Prime Minister Hun Sen, said a Pheu Thai Party source.
Many members of the Pheu Thai Party have flown to Cambodia to meet Thaksin, the source added yesterday.
Thaksin will tour countries in the region for a while before returning to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where he lives in exile. Thaksin was spotted by reporters at Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort in Siem Reap. He was accompanied by former Thai Rak Thai executive Yongyuth Tiyapairat, red shirt leader Suporn Attawong and National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department chief Damrong Pidech.
Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin's legal adviser, said it was normal for Pheu Thai members to make a trip to see Thaksin when he arrived in a neighbouring country for a visit.
Mr Noppadon insisted Thaksin's stay in Cambodia has no political motive. Now is not the time for any major reshuffle of the cabinet or government officials, he said.
Somkid Barnthaisong, Pheu Thai MP for Nong Khai, said Thaksin would be in Laos from April 13-15 to celebrate the Songkran festival.
Meanwhile, Sunai Jullpongsathon, chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs, said he and members of his panel may meet Thaksin while his panel spends time in Cambodia.
The committee reportedly decided to visit Cambodia instead of Myanmar this week following reports that Thaksin was expected to head to Cambodia.
It was reported that members of the committee who will travel to Cambodia from today until Sunday were members of the Pheu Thai Party.
Mr Sunai said earlier it was cheaper to go to Cambodia instead of Myanmar.
He said the aim of his visit to Cambodia was to meet Veera Somkwamkid, the coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, both of whom are imprisoned in Phnom Penh for espionage and illegal entry into Cambodia. They were arrested in late December 2010.
The Foreign Ministry has said it wants to negotiate with Cambodia on a prisoner exchange deal to bring the activists home. Veera is reported to be in ill health.
Mr Sunai said the panel's visit would help foster bilateral cooperation to improve public health for residents on the common border.

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