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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM claims Thais seek to oust him

PM claims Thais seek to oust him

Hun Sen says note implicates Thais in bid to destabilise govt.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Thursday accused the Thai government of attempting to stage a coup in Cambodia, referencing Thai government documents that he said had been obtained recently.

Speaking at the opening of a new fertiliser factory in Kandal province, Hun Sen said the “secret” documents indicated that plans to oust his government were already in motion.

“I tell you to stop dreaming because I know who is planning this. Just take care of your own country; don’t interfere in Cambodia,” the prime minister said.

Hun Sen added that the documents revealed a plot to kill fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and said Thai agents had already begun working to destabilise the Cambodian government.

“This is a bad plan … there is no other government that has ideas like this,” Hun Sen said. “We know all about what [Thailand] wants to do – you’re trying to create a bad scenario to cause war against Cambodia.”

On Tuesday, Thaksin posted a three-page document on his personal Web site in Thai and English that he said had been sent on November 16 by Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The document referred to Thaksin as the “main threat” against the government of Thailand, adding that “eliminating the main threat” was imperative to maintaining political stability. The prospect of military action against Cambodia was mentioned in a “worst-case scenario”.

The document was originally distributed to reporters in Bangkok last week by Jatuporn Prompan, a parliamentarian from the Thaksin-aligned Puea Thai party. Hun Sen said Thursday, however, that he had obtained his information prior to the revelations in Thailand.

Cambodian officials could not confirm whether the documents in Hun Sen’s possession were the same as those distributed by Jatuporn and Thaksin, though Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said this was likely the case.

This is a bad plan.... there is no other government that has ideas like this.

Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said criminal charges had been filed against Jatuporn in connection with the information leak, acknowledging that the document did appear to have originated from the Thai government.

“From the information that we have received, the documents that ... Jatuporn disseminated and read out seem to be official documents, but his interpretation, a lot of it was taken out of context or misinterpreted,” Thani said, declining to comment on Hun Sen’s remarks.

The Thai government is still considering whether to file charges against Thaksin as well, Thani added. Thaksin went into self-imposed exile last year to avoid a jail term for corruption after being ousted from the premiership in a 2006 coup, and Cambodia has refused to extradite him during his controversial visits to the Kingdom as an economic adviser.

According to the English-language document posted on Thaksin’s Web site, Kasit urged caution in dealing with Cambodia but contemplated the possibility of an escalation in tensions.

“The Government’s objective should be normalisation of Thai-Cambodian relations, not regime change,” the document read. Military force, it added, should be considered if Thaksin and Hun Sen “create any incidents which cause any loss of life” or establish a government-in-exile for Thaksin.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanyagorn said Wednesday that an investigation was being launched to determine if and how Jatuporn had come into possession of secret documents. He heavily qualified his statements as he called for patience pending the investigation’s outcome.

“We hope that, in the meantime, countries that are perhaps allegedly involved or allegedly stated in the so-called classified documents would evaluate the situation like we do – with caution,” he said.



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