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Pheu Thai-Gov’t fence-mending talks on track

Posted by arnon_k On September - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The five-point Pheu Thai plan for reconciliation with the government has remained on table, party deputy leader Plodprasop Suraswadi said on Tuesday, dismissing speculation about the plan aborted.

“Pheu Thai will not be discouraged nor call off the reconciliation just because someone in the government made offensive remarks,” he said.

The speculation about the collapse of fence-mending talks circulated after Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban voiced scepticism about the opposition’s sincerity by citing continuing attempts to undermine the monarchy.

This prompted a fiery denial from Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Plodprasop said he was surprised by the Suthep-Yongyuth spat since the two had family ties and came from the same hometown, Surat Thani.

He insisted, however, that Yongyuth merely reacted to Suthep’s remarks in his personal capacity, which did not reflect on the party’s stand.

“The reconciliation plan has been endorsed by the Phue Thai executive board,” he said, adding his main opposition party is in the process of naming its representatives for fence-mending talks.

PM assures Saudis over Somkid’s rise

Posted by arnon_k On September - 7 - 2010 2 COMMENTS

The prime minister has given an assurance that the appointment of Pol Lt Gen Somkid Boonthanom as an assistant national police chief will not affect his trial over the disappearance of a Saudi businessman.

But Saudi Arabia said yesterday it had been patient long enough and now wanted a series of “terrorising and horrible crimes” solved.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has assigned Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Royal Thai Police to clarify the appointment of Pol Lt Gen Somkid to the Saudi government which has lashed out at Thailand over the promotion.

“It is the Thai government’s duty to explain to them about the police promotion system, the promotion criteria and the fact that the promotion would not affect the trial against Pol Lt Gen Somkid,” Mr Abhisit said yesterday.

The Saudi embassy in Bangkok yesterday issued another statement with a tougher tone in response to Thai officials who have defended the appointment.

“For more than 20 years since the occurrence of these shocking, terrorising and horrible crimes and incidents, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its part has shown understanding, patience and extended all means of cooperation to aid the relevant Thai authorities in their investigations to uncover these crimes,” the embassy’s statement said, referring to the disappearance of businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili and the murders of four Saudi diplomatic staff in Bangkok.

The embassy said it understood the case would go to Bangkok Criminal Court on Nov 25 and questioned whether Pol Lt Gen Somkid’s promotion not only violated Thai law but could perhaps hinder the chances of justice being served.

The embassy “urges and anticipates witnessing transparency, justice and non-interference” in the case.

Pol Lt Gen Somkid and four other active and former police officers were indicted on Jan 12 by public prosecutors in connection with the disappearance of Mr al-Ruwaili in 1990.

Mr Suthep, who is also in charge of national security, said yesterday the promotion of Pol Lt Gen Somkid would not be completed until it had received royal endorsement.

He said he would make public details of the letter he would send to the Saudi embassy clarifying the promotion.”Whether Pol Lt Gen Somkid will be found guilty will depend on the judicial system. If he is guilty, it [the promotion] will have a problem,” he said.

Sirichoke: Bout fooling MP Torpong

Posted by arnon_k On September - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Detained Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout could be using opposition Puea Thai Party MP and house committee on foreign affairs chairman Torpong Chaiyasarn to prevent him from being extradited to the United States, Democrat Party MP Sirichoke Sopha said on Monday morning.

“I believe the documents given to Mr Torpong by Mr Bout accuse the US government of injustice and criticise the Thai justice system since Mr Bout does not want to be taken to the US.

“I don’t know why Mr Torpong is acting as Mr Bout’s lawyer,” Mr Sirichoke said.

The Democrat MP said he did not take anyone else to meet Mr Bout during their meeting on April 15 at the Bangkok Remand Prison and did not give his phone number to the Russian.

“I will explain everything about my meeting with Mr Bout and how Mr Bout is deceiving Mr Torpong this Wednesday,” he said.

Mr Sirichoke earlier said his visit was party of his duty as an MP to seek information from the suspect.

Interior reshuffle approved

Posted by arnon_k On August - 31 - 2010 1 COMMENT

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the appointments of high-level officials proposed by the Interior Ministry.

The appointments, effective from Oct 1, are as follows:

– Vichien Chaovalit, director-general of the Community Development Department, to be director-general of the Provincial Administration Department;
– Surachai Khan-asa, Samut Prakan governor, to be director-general of the Community Development Department;
– Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy permanent secretary for interior, to be director-general of the Local Administration Department;
– Wiboon Sanguanpong, deputy permanent secretary for interior, to be director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department;
– Sumeth Saengnimnual, Chiang Rai governor, to be inspector-general;
– Surapol Pongthadsirikul, Chachoengsao governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior;
– Wallop Pingpong, Samut Sakhon governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior; and
– Chonchuen Boonyasas, Uthai Thani governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior.

Sources said most of the officials appointed are close to Saksayam Chidchob, chairman of a working committee of Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and younger brother of Newin Chidchob, de facto leader of the Bhumjaithai Party.

The cabinet has previously approved the highly controversial appointment of Mongkol Surasajja, chief of the Provincial Administration Department, as the new permanent secretary. He is a former governor of Buri Ram, Mr Newin’s home province, and was 54th on the seniority list for the job.

The cabinet also approved on Tuesday the Office of the Civil Service Commission’s proposal to issue a regulation to protect officials and those working with state agencies from sexual harassment.