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05BANGKOK6101 AMBASSADOR RAISES KANTATHI’S COMMENTS TO PRESS ON FTA AND BURMA WITH MFA XXXXXX

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“41197”,”9/23/2005 10:46″,”05BANGKOK6101″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 006101

 

SIPDIS

 

EAP FOR A/S HILL AND EAP DAS JOHN NSC FOR MICHAEL GREEN AND

HOLLY MORROW

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2015

TAGS: PREL, BM, TH, BURMA, US-Thai FTA

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES KANTATHI\’S COMMENTS TO PRESS ON

FTA AND BURMA WITH MFA XXXXX

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR RALPH BOYCE. REASON: 1.4 (D)

 

1. (C) During a September 23 call on MFA XXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXX, the Ambassador pointed out that Foreign

Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon\’s reported September 20 comments

to the press on FTA and Burma appeared to be at odds with what

was discussed on these issues between the President and Prime

Minister Thaksin in Washington. The Ambassador noted to XXXXX

that the subsequent MFA statement refuting the news report as

\”misrepresentation\” still left questions about Thailand\’s stance

on these issues.

 

2. (C) The Ambassador also told XXXX that he had been in

contact with NSC staff who were aware that Kantathi had called

the Secretary to reassure her that his comments were taken out

of context and represented nothing at variance with the Prime

Minister\’s September 19 meeting with the President.

Nevertheless, the Foreign Minister\’s comments and the subsequent

MFA statement had created concern that the RTG was adopting a

utilitarian approach to the September 19 White House meeting,

taking one position in Washington and saying something else for

domestic consumption in Thailand (and in Burma, for that

matter).

 

3. (C) XXXXX was aware of the AP article and the Ministry\’s

statement, but the Foreign Minister\’s call to the Secretary was

news to him. He noted that Prime Minister Thaksin had returned

from Washington delighted with his meeting with the President,

and wondered aloud why the Foreign Minister had even agreed to

do such an interview only a day after the White House meeting.

He agreed that the Joint Statement spoke for itself, and took

note of the need for there to be concrete positive actions on

both the FTA and Burma in the near future.

 

4. (C) Comment: Leaving aside the wisdom of granting an

exclusive interview to an untested journalist, we do not think

Kantathi was acting as anything other than the inexperienced

Foreign Minister that he is. The Ambassador also raised the

unfortunate interview with Thaksin\’s chief policy advisor,

Pansak Vinyaratu, who was appalled by the whole affair,

commenting \”why does the Foreign Minister have to keep opening

his mouth?\” Before last month\’s cabinet reshuffle, there were

rumors that Katathi might be dropped because Thaksin was

unimpressed with his performance. This latest incident won\’t

help.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 7, 2011 at 6:02 am

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