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NEWS UPDATES 9 November 2009

Thailand vows to seek extradition as Cambodia announces Thaksin's visit

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand will seek extradition of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra if he visits Cambodia on November 12, state news agency TNA reported.

His remark came after news reports that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Sunday in Phnom Penh that ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Phnom Penh this week in his new role as the government's economics adviser.

The ex-Thai premier will be at Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance on Thursday to instruct several hundred Khmer economists, according to AFP.

"Thaksin will be at the Ministry of Economy and Finance on November 12 to do a briefing with more than 300 Cambodian economics experts," AFP quoted Hun Sen as telling a news conference at Phnom Penh International Airport.

Thaksin is living abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption, but Cambodia said last week the charges against him were "politically motivated" and vowed not to extradite him if he travelled to the country.

"Please let Thaksin share my burden of boosting the economy of Cambodia," Hun Sen appealed to the Thai people Sunday.

Earlier, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said billionaire Thaksin faced a "conflict of interest", having previously been chief of negotiations in Thailand and now working "for another side".

Meanwhile, the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs is studying laws involving the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Thailand and its neighbour Cambodia as agreements specified under its terms must be reviewed as a result of the current diplomatic row, said the Thai Prime Minister Sunday.

Both countries recalled their ambassadors after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed Thailand’s ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as his personal adviser and economic adviser to the Cambodian government.

Earlier, the head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, urged Thailand and Cambodia on Saturday to show "maximum restraint" in their ongoing spat.

He said the 10-country bloc should not be seen to be divided by the dispute ahead of a historic meeting with US President Barack Obama and regional leaders later this month. But Abhisit denied the issue would affect the summit.

Cross border trade remains normal but hoarding by some Cambodian traders has been reported in response to possible border closure.


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