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PM grilled over Cambodian oil rights claims

Abhisit says allegations are ‘totally groundless’ 

Praphan: Wants live television debate

The People’s Alliance for Democracy is challenging Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva to clarify the group’s claim that Thai political
groups have a vested interest in oil wells in Cambodia.

PAD spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan said yesterday the PAD had fresh
evidence of Thai political groups’ interests in Cambodia, and it wanted
the prime minister to explain the issue.
Praphan Koonmee, spokesman for the PAD splinter group, Land
Protection Power, said the PAD wanted the prime minister to hold a live
TV debate with the group on the issue.
He said the media should be allowed to freely question each speaker
so the public could weigh up the information from both parties.
Mr Abhisit has agreed to clarify his position on the yellow shirts’
allegation even though he said the claims made by the PAD of certain
Thai political groups having vested interests in oil exploration in
Cambodia were groundless.
He said the PAD’s information on the the dispute with Cambodia was
old and focused on problems in the past that his government had solved.
He said the PAD’s use of outdated information had confused people about the government’s policies.
The government’s position on the border disputes was clear, he said.
“We insist that the disputes could be settled by bilateral
mechanisms, because the MoU [memorandum of understanding signed with
Cambodia in 2000 to help settle border claims] is still in place,” Mr
Abhisit said.
“If the public is misled to believe that the Thai government could
revoke the MoU any time, it would go to support the [Cambodia’s] claim
that the bilateral mechanisms could not settle the disputes.”
The prime minister said the PAD should be more open-minded and
compromise on its demands. It is well known that Cambodia will benefit
from Thailand’s withdrawal of its membership of the World Heritage
Committee.
“I understand the PAD’s concerns. Let’s talk things out,” he said.
Pol Lt Gen Somyot Phumphanmuang, an assistant police chief who
headed a team investigating the seizure of Bangkok commercial airports
by the PAD in 2008, yesterday told reporters he had resigned as the
investigation leader.
The announcement came after Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, a core PAD
leader, yesterday morning filed a lawsuit with the Civil Court,
demanding 220 million baht in compensation plus 7.5% annual interest
from Pol Lt Gen Somyot for charging him with terrorism.Pol Lt Gen
Somyot showed reporters copies of his resignation letter dated Feb 11,
which was tendered to the police chief Wichean Potephosree.
He wrote in the letter that he had been under pressure from several
groups since being appointed to head the investigation team. His
involvement in the case had affected his family and close friends, and
so he asked the police chief to find a replacement.
Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan
Police Bureau, said the Centre for the Administration of Peace and
Order had assigned his bureau to enforce the law against any PAD
supporter found to that violated the Internal Security Act in place in
seven districts of Bangkok.
The bureau will summon those violating the ISA, including PAD
leaders, to hear charges. Those who fail to report will face arrest
warrants.
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Categories: Local News
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