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06BANGKOK4725 SURAKIART ON THAKSIN’S SUDDEN VISIT TO BURMA

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“73591”,”8/3/2006 11:11″,”06BANGKOK4725″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

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SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 004725

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR P, EAP, EAP/MLS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, TH, BM

SUBJECT: SURAKIART ON THAKSIN’S SUDDEN VISIT TO BURMA

 

BANGKOK 00004725 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph Boyce for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary: On August 3, Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart

discussed with Ambassador Prime Minister Thaksin\’s \”sudden

and puzzling\” trip to Burma the previous day. Surakiart said

that he was \”personally appalled\” by the trip and confirmed

that there was no advance planning. He claimed to have only

learned of the trip on the morning of Tuesday, August 1. He

said that Thaksin met privately with Than Shwe and Maung Aye

while the rest of the Thai delegation met with their

respective counterparts. According to Surakiart, the main

message that Thaksin hoped to deliver was that Thailand and

ASEAN want to draw Burma out of its self-imposed isolation,

and that in order to do so, Burma needs to keep ASEAN

informed of what it is doing and be willing to open up more

to the international community. End Summary.

 

Road Trip!

———-

 

2.(C) Surakiart told Ambassador that Thaksin proposed the

visit in a private discussion with the Burmese representative

at a meeting of ASEAN intelligence agencies in Pattaya on

July 28. On July 31, Than Shwe reportedly sent word that he

would agree to meet Thaksin in the new capital. The

following morning (August 1) Thaksin called Surakiart and

Foreign Minister Kantathi to inform them about the plan.

Surakiart said that Kantathi then asked if one of them should

attend as well. Thaksin replied to Kantathi, \”Sure, if you

want to come along.\” At this point, Surakiart said that he

was \”relieved\” that Kantathi would go and that he was not

specifically asked to attend. The rest of the Thai delegation

included MFA Permanent Secretary Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn,

Army Commander Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, National

Intelligence Director Pol. Gen. Chumpol Manmai, Agriculture

Minister Sudarat Keyuarphan and Natural Resources Minister

Yongyut Tiyapairat.

 

Thaksin and the Generals

————————

 

3. (C) Surakiart said that Thaksin had a private meeting with

Than Shwe, Maung Aye and one notetaker. Surakiart got a

readout on the meeting from MFA Permanent Secretary Krit.

(Note: Surakiart said that he tried to get a readout on the

trip while in the car with Thaksin this morning, but Thaksin

got out of the car before he could had time. End note.)

According to Surakiart, Thaksin\’s purpose in going to Burma

was to try to draw Burma out of its self-imposed isolation by

\”bringing the feeling of the international community and

ASEAN directly to Than Shwe.\” The main message that Thaksin

hoped to deliver was that Thailand and ASEAN want to be

supportive of Burma, but that Burma needed to take certain

steps. Specifically, Thaksin suggested that the regime

should clearly explain the process and time frame for the

drafting of Burma\’s new constitution. He also suggested that

the regime explain its plan for sharing power with \”others\”.

Thaksin reportedly told Than Shwe that he should consider

attending more international meetings. Lastly, Burma needed

to do a better job at keeping ASEAN informed of its plans.

 

4. (C) Surakiart said that Thaksin attempted to bring up the

topic of Aung San Suu Kyi. However, as soon as he did Than

Shwe \”cut him off\” with the usual litany of complaints, i.e.

ASSK is uncooperative, causes trouble whenever she is

released, etc.

 

5. (C) While Thaksin met with Than Shwe and Maung Aye, the

other ministers met with their respective counterparts, i.e.

Kantathi met with FM Soe Win, General Sonthi met with General

Thura Shwe Mann, etc. Surakiart did not have readouts of

these meetings. (We have seen some press reports quoting

Kantathi as stating that the Thai urged the Burmese to

release ASSK.) When Ambassador asked Surakiart about this,

he replied: \”If Soe Win agreed to that, he\’s gone.\”

 

6. (C) Ambassador underscored our disappointment about not

being consulted prior to the trip. Ambassador added that

even if Thaksin was well intentioned, the trip is not playing

well, particularly given its sudden and secretive nature.

Surakiart fully agreed and noted that the political

opposition in Thailand will \”have a field day with this.\” He

noted, however, that he was relieved that there was

 

BANGKOK 00004725 002.2 OF 002

 

apparently no conversation between Thaksin and Than Shwe

about Thaksin\’s personal business interests in Burma.

 

Comment

——-

 

7. (C) This trip caught everyone off-guard, including by most

accounts the Thai Army Commander (who had to cancel plans to

travel to Southern Thailand) and members of Thaksin\’s

cabinet. Part of the reason cam be ascribed to Thaksin\’s

impulsive, unpredictable nature. Presumably, Thaksin made

some calculation that this was a propitious moment to

approach Than Shwe and Maung Aye on behalf of ASEAN (we have

unconfirmed reports that Thaksin called President Arroyo

shortly before embarking on his visit). Still, it is unclear

what led Thaksin to believe that he had something to be

gained by making such a trip, shrouded in secrecy. It would

be interesting to know other ASEAN capital\’s views.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

Posted in Burma, Confidential, Thaksin

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