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Cambodia has rejected Thailand's request for the extradition of former
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. There now are suggestions that the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations should intervene to reduce
tensions that have risen between the two countries.
diplomats on Wednesday morning presented Cambodian officials with a
request to detain and extradite Thaksin Shinawatra. The former prime
minster is wanted in Thailand after fleeing a year ago to avoid a
two-year jail sentence for corruption.
Cambodia responded with
a diplomatic note rejecting the extradition request. The Cambodian
government has said it considers Mr. Thaksin's conviction to be
Mr. Thaksin arrived Tuesday in Phnom Penh to take up a position as an economic adviser to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Cambodian and Thai media showed photographs of Mr. Hun Sen warmly greeting Mr. Thaksin.
Thai government has indicated it may terminate its extradition treaty
with Cambodia if Mr. Thaksin is not sent back to serve his sentence.
Choonhavan is a member of Thailand's governing coalition. He says it
may be necessary to call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
to mediate an end the diplomat dispute.
"I think it is time now
for the ASEAN Secretariat to step up, perhaps a shuttle diplomacy
toward this unsettling issue, and that Hun Sen should reconsider to
reduce this antagonistic approach toward Thailand," Kraisak said. "You
can only see escalation and that's no good for anybody, not only on a
bilateral basis but as an organization as a whole."
has not closed the border with Cambodia to avoid damaging their
economies. Kiat Settheearmon is president of the Thailand Trade
"We want to ensure that the livelihood o
the people is not affected by the current misunderstanding," Kiat said.
"I will say that and we will continue this path, whatever measures it
might be it will be the least [impact] affecting the well being of the
people of the two countries."
Relations between the two
countries have been strained for a year because of a disputed ancient
temple on their border. The temple is in Cambodian territory but a main
approach to it is in Thailand.
There are concerns the soured
diplomatic ties could spill over to the ASEAN meeting on the sidelines
of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum under way in Singapore.
Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006, remains popular with the
rural and urban poor. But many in the urban middle class accuse him of
authoritarianism. Some political analysts in Thailand say he may have
hurt his popularity by taking the post in Cambodia, and by making
controversial comments on the revered Thai monarchy in an interview
with a British newspaper.