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09BANGKOK1822 EAP A/S CAMPBELL’S MEETING WITH DPM SUTHEP

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“218577”,”7/29/2009 10:12″,”09BANGKOK1822″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

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SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/29/2019

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PBTS, PHUM, PTER, TH, CB

SUBJECT: THAILAND: EAP A/S CAMPBELL\’S MEETING WITH DPM

SUTHEP

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary. During a July 21 meeting, Deputy Prime

Minister Suthep Thaugsuban told EAP Assistant Secretary Kurt

Campbell and the Ambassador that the Abhisit Vejjajiva

government was committed to resolving the political conflict

via the rule of law and democracy. The government would not

be able to come to an accommodation with fugitive ex-PM

Thaksin if he continued to evade criminal punishment and

persisted in pushing for the downfall of the government.

Suthep said that he had met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun

Sen to encourage a broad compromise that addressed

overlapping territorial claims beyond the vicinity of the

Preah Vihear temple, but that no progress had been made. A/S

Campbell stressed to Suthep the need for RTG attention to

concerns regarding the screening process for repatriating Lao

Hmong and highlighted the role Thailand could play in

assisting with international efforts to bring North Korea

back to the Six-Party Talks. End summary.

 

DOMESTIC POLITICS

—————–

 

2. (C) EAP Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell, the Ambassador,

EAP Deputy Assistant Secretary Scot Marciel, and EAP Special

Assistant Mark Tesone met July 21 with Deputy Prime Minister

Suthep Thaugsuban at Government House. A/S Campbell

expressed USG appreciation for the bilateral relationship,

particularly the military alliance, and asked Suthep for his

view of the political situation in the coming months. Suthep

underlined the commitment of Prime Minister Abhisit

Vejjajiva\’s government to the rule of law and to moving

forward with resolving the political conflict via democratic

means. Suthep, emphasizing the destabilizing impact of

former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, stressed that it

would likely take some time before the political situation

improved. Thaksin had continued to claim that he was being

treated unfairly even though he had been found guilty by the

Courts, Suthep said.

 

4. (C) A/S Campbell asked Suthep if the Thai government had

considered approaching Thaksin to discuss a way to promote

political reconciliation. Suthep replied that if Thaksin

stayed abroad, stirred up anti-government sentiments, and

evaded his sentence to prison, there was nothing that the

Thai government could do. The former Prime Minister had not

abandoned his involvement in Thai politics, and the April

2009 protests in Pattaya and Bangkok had demonstrated that

Thaksin was willing to advocate anti-government activities,

Suthep said. The Deputy Prime Minister said that he had

tried to reach out to Thaksin to talk by phone or to go to

meet him in the days following the formation of the Abhisit

government in December 2008, but Thaksin had refused to

consider the request. The Thai government would not enter

into a compromise with Thaksin that would involve the return

of the former PM\’s seized funds, as he had broken the law and

must accept the Court\’s ruling. Suthep said he was concerned

that Thaksin would take a more overt approach to undermining

the Thai monarchy after the reds suffered setbacks in the

aftermath of the April Pattaya and Bangkok disturbances.

 

CAMBODIAN BORDER DISPUTE

————————

 

5. (C) Suthep told A/S Campbell that he had met Cambodian

Prime Minister Hun Sen three times in recent months in an

effort to encourage Cambodian cooperation on a wide range of

territorial issues, including overlapping territorial claims

in the Gulf of Thailand. A larger compromise that would lead

to exploration of gas and oil reserves in the Gulf would

greatly benefit both countries and likely lead to accelerated

resolution of the Preah Vihear temple issue. Suthep said he

believed that Hun Sen understood the larger benefits, but it

appeared that something was holding back the Cambodian Prime

Minister, possibly Vietnamese involvement. Suthep said that

the Thai government was engaging China on the border issue,

as Cambodia needed Chinese support.

 

HMONG

—–

 

BANGKOK 00001822 002 OF 002

 

6. (C) A/S Campbell highlighted strong USG support for the

U.S.-Thai alliance, particularly among members of Congress.

That said, A/S Campbell stressed to Suthep serious

congressional and executive branch concern regarding Lao

Hmong in Thai camps, some of whom likely fear repatriation.

RTG assistance in providing a transparent screening process

for the Hmong would go far in reinforcing goodwill in the

U.S. Suthep told A/S Campbell that a possible solution could

entail the Lao government taking discrete steps to care for

Hmong who voluntarily returned while the Thai government took

care of those who feared returning to Laos. Suthep said that

the Thai Cabinet was expected to soon appoint Tawin Pleansri

as the new Secretary-General of the National Security

Council, and that Tawin would address the Hmong issue.

 

THE SOUTH

———

 

7. (C) Noting that the U.S. viewed southern Thailand as a

domestic issue for the Thai government, A/S Campbell asked

Suthep for his thoughts on the ongoing violence in the South.

Suthep said that the Abhisit government was committed to an

approach to the South that was different from that of

Thaksin, which Suthep characterized as harsh. The RTG would

follow King Bhumibol\’s advice to know and understand the

southern people and to assist with development in the region.

The government would implement a budget of 63 billion baht

(approx $1.9 billion) to provide for accelerated development

in the South, and Suthep would manage the budget himself.

Suthep believed that as progress continued, southerners would

increasingly turn to the government. Already violent

incidents were down by forty-three percent.

 

PRESSURING THE DPRK

——————-

 

8. (C) A/S Campbell highlighted USG concerns to Suthep

regarding North Korea\’s threat to regional security. As

such, the U.S. and partners would pressure Pyongyang to

return to the Six-Party Talks. It would be important for

Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia to support

these efforts and to insure that North Korea was not able to

proliferate weapons and nuclear materials.

 

9. (U) This cable was cleared with A/S Campbell.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:47 am

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