Monday, November 16, 2009

Prime Minister Hun Sen Appoints Thaksin as his Personal Advisor

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai Prime Minister, was appointed as Personal Advisor to the Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and also as Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge of Economic Affaires. The appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra was made by a Royal Decree on November 4 signed by His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and Spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, appreciated the appointment of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as Personal Advisor to the Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

The Minister said that the government has decided to appoint Thaksin Shinawatra as the Prime Minister’s Advisor because Thaksin’s case is politically motivated, as he was ousted from the position of Thai Prime Minister through a military coup d’etat on September 19, 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand.

As a result of the appointment, Thaksin Shinawatra can enter Cambodia freely to stay and perform his duties as an Advisor to the Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen in Cambodia, said Kanharith, adding that the government will not extradite Thaksin to Thailand as proposed by Thai authorities.

“As a spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to confirm that the Cambodian government strongly holds its stance in maintaining the bond of friendship and cooperation in all sectors between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, and the permission for His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra to stay in Cambodia is an act of virtue, like the slogan says: ‘Good friends should help each other in hard times,’” he said.

Koy Kuong, Spokesman of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, also appreciated Thaksin Shinawatra’s appointment.

“I appreciate and welcome His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been appointed as Samdech Hun Sen’s and the government’s advisor. I think that the Royal Government of Cambodia has made its position clear for this appointment as well as the position to work on promoting and improving good relations and cooperation between the two countries in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on November 5.

Koy Kuong said that the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra will not affect the border issues, friendship, or cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand in the future.

Thaksin Shinawatra became the Thai Prime Minister through general election in 2000. He was expelled from his position in a bloodless coup d’etat in 2006. Thaksin is now living in exile and faces a two-year jail term for corruption if he returns to Thailand.

“I thank His Excellency Hun Sen, and I just received a copy which was signed by King Sihamoni. It's an honor,” said Thaksin, quoted by AFP on November 5.Thaksin remains a hugely influential figure in Thailand, where he has stirred up mass protests against the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in the past year. His own allies were driven from the government in December 2008 after anti-Thaksin protesters occupied Bangkok's airports.

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