Thaksin visits Cambodia

THAILAND: Fugitive former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Phnom Penh today (September 16) for the first time since his sister took power, Cambodian Premier Hun Sen said on Monday.

Thursday 15 September 2011, 03:37PM

Thaksin will arrive in Cambodia today, Mr Hun Sen said, following Yingluck Shinawatra’s one-day official visit yesterday (September 15). A meeting between the siblings would risk inflaming Thailand’s political divisions.

The controversial former Prime Minister, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, is due to play golf with the Cambodian leader and address the Asian Economic Future Conference during his trip.

“Apart from being a friend, I will officially host Thaksin as a guest speaker,” Mr Hun Sen said at a graduation ceremony.

Thai-Cambodian relations have appeared to stabilise since Ms Yingluck took power, after an eruption of deadly military clashes on their shared border earlier this year.

Mr Hun Sen, who has described Mr Thaksin as his “eternal friend”, said last month that the “nightmare” of strained ties with Thailand was over and vowed to work with Bangkok to resolve the row, which centres on a 900-year-old temple.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice in July asked both nations to withdraw military personnel from around the Preah Vihear temple complex, although neither side has pulled out yet.

Ms Yingluck’s rapid rise to victory in July 3 election marks a comeback for her brother, who lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption and also faces terrorism charges over last year’s political unrest in Bangkok.

The former telecoms tycoon is widely believed to wield influence over his sister’s fledgling government, which has already drawn fire over opposition claims it helped him travel to Japan recently. The Government denies intervening.

Mr Thaksin is due to fly to the northwestern city of Siem Reap, Cambodia’s popular tourist hub, next Tuesday (September 20). – AFP



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