Monday, 21 February 2011

Thai Rath Columnist Likit Jongsakul

via CAAI

Published: 21/02/2011 
Newspaper section: News

Given the complexity of local politics, it will take time for PM Abhisit to resolve the Cambodia conflict.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has several cards to play. He knows that Prime Minister Abhisit is still facing a lot of pressure from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the opposition Puea Thai Party.

The PAD wants Mr Abhisit to take a hardline stance with regard to the border problem with Cambodia, while Puea Thai is planning a no-confidence debate that will also touch on the ruling Democrat Party's handling of the recent armed clashes near the Preah Vihear temple.

More importantly, leading PAD member Veera Somkwamkid and his companion are serving an 8-year jail term in Cambodia for alleged spying and trespassing on Cambodia territory.

Mr Hun Sen can use the two PAD members as a bargaining chip in his dealings with Mr Abhisit, whose relationship with the PAD has turned sour because of his failure to secure the release of the PAD members.

Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban tried to cool domestic politics by suggesting that PM Abhisit might dissolve the Lower House in June, but his opponents are dead-set on bringing down the government.

PM Abhisit must keep his cool as Thailand and Cambodia are scheduled to hold bilateral talks under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week. The outcome of these talks will measure his leadership and political maturity.

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