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09BANGKOK225 THAI PARLIAMENT OFFERS ASSENT FOR UPCOMING ASEAN AGREEMENTS

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“189153”,”1/28/2009 10:31″,”09BANGKOK225″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“09BANGKOK209″,”VZCZCXRO6751

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #0225 0281031

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 281031Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5850

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6725

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9389

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5238

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1349

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6111

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 000225

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH

SUBJECT: THAI PARLIAMENT OFFERS ASSENT FOR UPCOMING ASEAN

AGREEMENTS

 

REF: BANGKOK 209

 

1. (SBU) Summary: After several months of delays, the Thai

parliament on January 27 approved 41 ASEAN-related draft

agreements, as required by the 2007 Thai Constitution, but

sent two agreements to a specially-established scrutiny

committee before final approval. The votes allow the RTG to

sign agreements with its counterparts during the upcoming

ASEAN Summit and avoid the embarassment of hosting an event

but being legally unable to endorse summit agreements.

 

2. (SBU) Comment: These agreements were first introduced for

parliamentary approval by the previous PM-Somchai-led

government several months ago, but did not reach a vote for

approval until now due to the political turbulence in

Thailand and a change in governments. The opposition —

which had initially introduced the agreements under Somchai

— engaged in some parliamentary maneuvers intended more to

embarrass the government rather than to block these

agreements. In the end, only a handful of legislators voted

against the proposals. As septel will report, allies of

former Prime Minister Thaksin are likely to continue to focus

attention on FM Kasit\’s ties to the People\’s Alliance for

Democracy (PAD) and have announced their intention to stage

protests during the ASEAN Summit, scheduled for February

27-March 1. End Summary and Comment.

 

Parliament approves ASEAN documents, finally

——————————————–

 

3. (SBU) Article 190 of the 2007 Thai Constitution requires

the RTG to obtain parliamentary approval before signing

certain types of agreements with foreign governments; the

intent of the Constitution\’s drafters was to allow for more

parliamentary oversight of executive actions. The

Constitutional Court has indicated in at least one ruling

that the RTG ought to interpret this provision broadly and

err on the side of seeking parliamentary approval. Among the

important ASEAN-related documents under review were the draft

Bangkok Declaration on the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community and

a draft framework for the new ASEAN human rights body

mandated by the ASEAN Charter. Parliament also approved free

trade agreements between ASEAN and partner countries India,

China, Australia, and New Zealand. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,

XXXXXXX from the MFA Department of ASEAN Affairs, told us

on January 28 that the legislative session had proceeded

well, and that neither side in the parliament wanted to use

the ASEAN agreements as a political issue. He said that the

bulk of the discussions were focused on the economic

agreements.

 

4. (SBU) The first day of debate did not go as smoothly as

the MFA might have hoped, however. Opposition MPs focused

the debate on the credentials and qualifications of Foreign

Minister Kasit Piromya. They complained that Kasit was

ill-suited to represent Thailand during the ASEAN Summit

because he had played a supporting role in the PAD protests,

which resulted in the week-long occupation of Bangkok\’s

international airports late last year. The opposition also

cited his harsh rhetoric against Cambodian Prime Minister Hun

Sen when border tensions erupted over the Preah Vihear Temple

in 2008. After returning from his January 27 visit to

Cambodia (reftel), Kasit defended himself against the

opposition MPs by saying that his remarks about Hun Sen were

justified at the time, given the border tension. Kasit also

highlighted that the international community had welcomed his

appointment as Foreign Minister.

 

5. (U) Note: The legislative session resolved to set up a

scrutiny committee to study two draft agreements in a 15-day

timeframe. One sub-committee will examine the role and

responsibility of the ASEAN human rights commission, and the

other sub-committee will oversee the legal issues under the

ASEAN Charter. This scrutiny committee will be comprised of

36 members representing the Senate, coalition parties, and

opposition parties. After the completion of the committee,s

scrutiny, the two agreements will be returned to the joint

House-Senate session for final voting.

JOHN

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Written by thaicables

July 19, 2011 at 6:27 am

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