Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Top official moved over border temple row

The Bangkok Post
By Thanida Tansubhapol

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama yesterday ordered the abrupt transfer of a senior ministry official handling the Preah Vihear temple dispute with Cambodia to an inactive post.

Treaties and Legal Affairs Department director-general Virachai Plasai has been made an ambassador attached to the ministry, an inactive position.

He was on his way to Phnom Penh with foreign affairs permanent secretary Virasakdi Futrakul yesterday for talks with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on the controversial issue of Unesco World Heritage listing for Preah Vihear.

Krit Kraichitti, currently head of the International Economic Affairs Department, will replace Mr Virachai.

The cabinet yesterday approved the special reshuffle order.

Tanatip U-patising, who is the ambassador attached to the ministry, will replace Mr Krit.

It is believed the transfer was linked to Mr Virachai’s handling of the Preah Vihear issue.

Mr Noppadon explained that the transfer was meant to improve efficiency and working coordination.

"I try to put the right person in the right job. There was no other reason for the transfer," said Mr Noppadon.

He said Mr Krit, who formerly headed the Treaties and Legal Affairs Department, knows the problem (Preah Vihear) very well.

"Each horse has a lot of experience but I want the horse that can run on the right track," said Mr Noppadon.

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