Saturday, 5 March 2011

Thailand - PM doorstep interviews

via CAAI

On 2 March 2011, at 16.05 hrs., Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva gave an interview to reporters regarding the progress on the cases of Mr. Veera Somkwamkid and Ms. Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, who were found guilty and jailed in Cambodia. The Government let the families and lawyers make the decisions, but there are minor problems as there are 2 assisting teams.

With regards to the different directions of the 2 teams, as one asked for a royal pardon while Mr. Karoon Sai-ngam filed an appeal to fight the case, the Prime Minister said that he must first inspect the filing as it is not possible that the 2 sides can file at the same time. When asked as to whether who was assigned by Mr. Veera to handle the case, between the lawyer from the Thai Patriots Network or his family, the Prime Minister said that the day that Mr. Veera's family visited, Mr. Nataporn Toprayoon, the lawyer, also came and asked the Government to help coordinate. This is to create the transfer of authority so that they can meet Mr. Veera in Cambodia. After that the Prime Minister acknowledged the coordination of the meeting but has not yet received news from Mr. Karoon.

When asked as to whether the disunity will delay the solutions to the problems, the Prime Minister stated that it might be confusing when there are many teams. Mr. Karoon has not received any authority and has no right to file anything to the court. However, it is unknown if authority was earlier transferred.

On the UNESCO issue, the Prime Minister said that Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, special representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who after having discussions with Cambodia had traveled back to Thailand on 1 March, had met the Prime Minister again to report about the meeting in Cambodia and to follow-up on the views of the Thai Government. Mr. Matsuura will report the information to the Director-General of UNESCO and the director will then make proposals for the 2 countries to reconsider. The goal is to reduce tension in the UNESCO-related process regarding the Preah Vihear Temple area.

When asked as to whether the Prime Minister will “reclaim” protest areas, the Prime Minister responded that nobody seized the area and he does not want to fight with anyone. The supervision of security around houses is normal and citizens can travel freely, despite some road closures in certain times. When citizens file complaints, security forces are reminded to cause minimal disruption. Even though the Government allows protesters to assemble, they must also open the roads for people to travel. The Prime Minister said it was difficult to understand why this issue became a problem, and he believed that someone always wanted to provoke conflicts, which is something undesirable.

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