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08BANGKOK2276 NEW THAI FOREIGN MINISTER APPOINTED; NEW COURT CASE LIKELY TO PROMPT FURTHER CABINET RESIGNATIONS

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“163779”,”7/28/2008 10:19″,”08BANGKOK2276″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“VZCZCXRO7535

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2276 2101019

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 281019Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3827

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 8923

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0945

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6205

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1708

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 5506

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002276

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, TH

SUBJECT: NEW THAI FOREIGN MINISTER APPOINTED; NEW COURT

CASE LIKELY TO PROMPT FURTHER CABINET RESIGNATIONS

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission

James F. Entwistle, reason: 1.4

(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) On July 27, King Bhumibol formally appointed Tej

Bunnag, former Ambassador to the United States, as Thailand\’s

new Foreign Minister. Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej\’s

selection of Tej, a career diplomat, was generally welcomed

as a non-controversial move in a political environment that

remains highly polarized. On July 28, Tej traveled to Siem

Reap, Cambodia, to engage in bilateral talks with his

Cambodian counterpart on the dispute over the disposition of

the Preah Vihear temple. As of late afternoon July 28, we

have not received information from our Thai contacts on the

developments in those talks, which were continuing with no

set time to conclude.

 

2. (C) Separately, the Supreme Court\’s Criminal Division for

Political Office Holders on July 28 accepted for

consideration a case that the Asset Examination Committee had

compiled against Thaksin Shinawatra and former members of one

of his cabinets. The allegation in this case is that Thaksin

and his cabinet engaged in dereliction of duty, embezzlement,

and other infractions when they establishing a new government

lottery program in 2003. Three current cabinet members are

charged in this matter: Deputy Prime Minister/Finance

Minister Surapong Suebwonglee (also Secretary General of the

People\’s Power Party), Labor Minister Uraiwan Thienthong

(wife of Pracharaj Party Leader Sanoh Thienthong), and Deputy

Transportation Minister Anurak Jureemart (Deputy Leader of

the Chart Thai Party). There is a widespread perception that

constitutional provisions (specifically, in Article 275,

incorporating by reference provisions of Article 272) require

government officials charged in cases such as this one to

suspend the performance of their duties, and it appears

likely that Prime Minister Samak will replace Surapong,

Uraiwan, and Anurak in his upcoming reshuffle.

 

BIO OF NEW FOREIGN MINISTER

—————————

 

3. (U) Tej Bunnag, born on November 25, 1943, joined the MFA

in 1969. He served one overseas tour, in Jakarta

(1976-1979), before receiving Ambassadorial rank in 1983,

when he became Ambassador Attached to the Foreign Ministry.

In 1986, he was assigned as Ambassador to the People\’s

Republic of China, also accredited to the Democratic People\’s

Republic of Korea. In 1990, he became Thailand\’s Permanent

Representative to the United Nations office in Geneva. From

1996 until 2000, he served as Thailand\’s Ambassador to France

and Permanent Representative to UNESCO. He served as

Ambassador to the United States from 2000 until 2001. From

2001 until 2004, he was Permanent Secretary at the MFA. In

2004, he became an Advisor in the Office of His Majesty the

King\’s Principal Private Secretary. Tej receive Bachelor\’s

and Master\’s degrees from Cambridge University, and he

received his Doctorate from Oxford. He is married to Mrs.

Phensri Bunnag. He holds more than a dozen positions in

foundations and academic institutions.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 18, 2011 at 6:36 am

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