Saturday, 21 November 2009

Navy chief warns govt on MoU

Man City to expose Thaksin 'failings'

Published: 21/11/2009 at 12:00 AM

(Posted by CAAI news Media)

Navy chief Kamthorn Pumhirun has warned the government to tread carefully with its plan to revoke a memorandum of understanding on the overlapping maritime boundary with Cambodia.

Adm Kamthorn said even though the cabinet has decided to scrap the MoU, the decision will not take effect until it is approved by parliament. The government is seeking parliamentary approval to annul the MoU.

Adm Kamthorn urged all parties concerned to weigh the pros and cons of terminating the MoU carefully.

However, he was confident the Foreign Ministry and three House committees responsible for deliberating the matter will handle it in a professional manner.

"I believe they are professionals and will put the country's interests first. They should know what the advantages and disadvantages are for the country," he said.

The government's move to scrap the MoU is in response to Cambodia's appointment of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as its economic adviser.

The document was signed in 2001 when Thaksin was prime minister. Its main goal is for the two countries to demarcate territorial waters and jointly explore natural gas and oil reserves in the overlapping area.

Adm Kamthorn said the navy has continued to look after Thai territorial waters and to make sure the disputed maritime area is not violated.

The navy chief said relations between the navies of the two countries have remained healthy. There had been no Cambodian military movements nor any Cambodian navy presence in the waterways, he said.

Defence Ministry spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said the Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) will hold its meeting to discuss border issues in Pattaya next Thursday and Friday.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh will jointly chair the meeting.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he believed relations between Thailand and Cambodia will return to normal shortly. However, he said the government will not send Thai envoys to Phnom Penh until the Cambodian government reviews its position.

The prime minister said the government is stepping up its efforts to arrange for Simarak na Nakhon Phanom to visit her son Sivarak Chutipong, a Cambodia Air Traffic Services engineer who is being held in a Cambodian prison on charges of spying.

Deputy permanent secretary for justice Thawee Sodsong said he and Suvana Suwannajuta, the director-general of the Liberties and Rights Protection Department, will travel to Cambodia on Monday to visit Mr Sivarak.

Mr Thawee said he will arrange for Mr Sivarak's family members to visit him.

Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said it will take 10 days for Cambodia to consider whether to grant him bail.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party deputy leader Kraisak Choonhavan has said executives of the English Premier League soccer club Manchester City are planning to expose the failings of Thaksin, its former owner.

Mr Kraisak said the football club had been unhappy with Thaksin's style of running the club, including superstitious practices he brought to the club and his efforts to meddle with the management of the football team. Thaksin bought City in July 2007, 10 months after he was ousted in a military coup. He sold the club to an investment group from the United Arab Emirates in September 2008.

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