POSTED: 8:31 a.m. EST, January 15, 2007
(CNN) — CNN’s Dan Rivers spoke to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra. The following is a transcript of the interview. Rivers
began by asking Shinawatra about his alleged involvement in New Year
bombings in Bangkok.
Shinawatra: It’s baseless allegations. No
one believes so. Because everyone knows who is, who am I. I come from
election, I come from the people. I owe gratitude to our people. I do
everything for the good of the country and the people. I don’t do
something that’s stupid.
Rivers: So you had no involvement.
Not involvement at all. But I would like to express my deep sympathy,
deepest sympathy for those who lose, lost their loved ones and also all
those who are injured. And the individuals who are involved must be
brought to justice.
Rivers: This is the first time you’ve spoken
since the coup of September the 19th, first of all, you were in the
United States, in New York at the U.N., when this happened, how did you
find out that this was going on?
Shinawatra: Well I find out
just about four, five hours before, before it happened, but I trying to
get into the television station but it’s very difficult at that time I
cannot get into it until I can get into channel 9 briefly, but you
know, which I, it’s a rumors at that time but I don’t believe that this
can happen again in the 21st century.
Rivers: So it was surprise when it happened?
It’s very surprise because you know, but anyway 70 years in Thailand,
17 coup happened is very unfortunate but it’s, it’s an event that
happened here in Thailand.
Rivers: Will you go back to, back to politics?
No. No. (DR: Go back as a private … ) Enough is enough. Six years you
serve the countries. You been working hard. You sacrifice your time
even your life. And, even your family life. So it’s, it’s time for me
to go back as a private citizen. And contribute to the Thai society
outside political arena.
Thai generals pull plug on Thaksin CNN interview
Monday January 15, 10:03 PM Reuters Singapore
Jan 15 (Reuters) – Thailand’s ruling generals censored an entire CNN
interview on Monday with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in
which he promised to quit politics and return to civilian life.
enough is enough,” Thaksin said in answer to a question about whether
he planned another shot at power if he is ever allowed back to his home
The millionaire telecoms tycoon who won election
landslides in 2001 and 2005 has been in exile ever since the Sept. 19
coup — Thailand’s 18th in 74 years of on-off democracy. He conducted
the interview in Singapore.
“Six years, you serve the country,
you’ve been working hard. You’ve sacrificed your time, even your life
and even your family life. So, it’s time for me to go back as a private
citizen and contribute to Thai society outside the political arena,” he
Thaksin also denied any involvement in the string of New
Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok that killed three people and sowed fears
of a turbulent year ahead for the Southeast Asian nation, rattling
domestic and foreign investors.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathies for those who lost their loved ones,” Thaksin said
army and its interim appointed government, which is meant to be in
charge for a year until fresh elections are held under a new
constitution, have stopped short of blaming Thaksin explicitly for the
Instead, they have blamed the eight blasts on
“politicians who lost power”, a reference that many Thais are
interpreting as being Thaksin or dissident elements in his Thai Rak
Thai (Thais Love Thais) party.
for Thaksin, nobody in Thailand saw the interview as cable TV provider
UBC overrode the signal with a recording of the previous hour’s
international sports report.
Reuters monitored the CNN interview from Singapore and Bangkok.
week, the Council for National Security (CNS), as the military chiefs
who led the coup now call themselves, summoned domestic radio and
television broadcasters to tell them to stop giving coverage to
Thaksin, his lawyer or supporters.
The CNS announced the
lifting of martial law in roughly half the country in November but the
relaxation has yet to take effect as it has inexplicably failed to gain
the signature of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
As such, the
army retains the power to censor the media and prevent public
gatherings it deems a threat to national security. (Additional
reporting by David Fogarty in Singapore)
Thailand Summons Singapore’s Ambassador
Tuesday January 16, 2007 6:31 AM
By AMBIKA AHUJA
Associated Press Writer
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Thailand has summoned Singapore’s ambassador to discuss why ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was granted a meeting with a top official during a visit to the island nation, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Thaksin met recently with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar during one of many trips he has taken in Asia since being ousted from power in a Sept. 19 coup. Coup leaders say the trips are politically motivated and last week revoked Thaksin’s diplomatic passport.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kitti Wasinondh declined to discuss details of the meeting, saying only: “The ministry has summoned the ambassador of Singapore to discuss the matter this morning.”
Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate comment, but in a statement issued Sunday described Jayakumar as an “old friend” of Thaksin’s and said their meeting was “purely social and private.”
Thaksin has been barred from returning to Thailand since the coup. His travels, including trips to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia, have made front-page headlines back home.
The military council that removed Thaksin has renewed attempts to muzzle the media and its coverage of him. The generals asked broadcasters last week to limit coverage of comments by Thaksin and his representatives in the name of national unity, prompting a media outcry but succeeding in blocking certain broadcasts.
A CNN interview with Thaksin broadcast elsewhere Monday evening was not shown in Thailand.
Cable TV provider UBC decided “not to broadcast the interview” and instead repeated an earlier program, said a UBC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The official said there had been no particular order from coup leaders not to air the interview.
CNN representatives in Bangkok could not immediately be reached for comment.
Since the coup, the military and the temporary government it installed have blamed Thaksin and his supporters for trying to cause unrest to destabilize the country. Thaksin has denied the allegations, for which no evidence has been produced.
In the CNN interview, Thaksin repeated that he has retired from politics.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was time to “contribute to the Thai society outside (the) political arena.”
In a separate interview published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, Thaksin said he would not try to return to power and criticized the new government’s economic policies.
“I reassure them they shouldn’t feel worried about me,” he said, adding that he will not seek to regain his old job – but will remain a member of his political party. He also said Thailand must better prepare for economic competition.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” he was quoted as saying on the newspaper’s Web site. “And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society. Competition is unavoidable so we have to prepare for it.”
Ousted Thai PM Thaksin says will not try comeback
AFP/File Photo: Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, pictured in 2006, said he had no intention of returning…
- Slideshow: Military Coup in Thailand
SINGAPORE (AFP) – Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra said he had no intention of returning to Thai politics and had nothing to do with recent fatal bomb blasts, in his first media interviews since he was ousted.
Thaksin broke his silence on his ouster and criticised the economic policy of Thailand’s new military-backed government in wide-ranging discussions with the Wall Street Journal and CNN published and broadcast Monday. “Enough is enough. Six years you serve the countries. (You’ve) been working hard. You sacrifice your time, even your life,” the billionaire businessman told the CNN news channel.
“So its, its time for me to go back as a private citizen and contribute to the Thai society outside political arena.”
Thaksin, who was overthrown by the military on September 19 last year, was quoted on the Wall Street Journal website as saying accusations that he was involved in recent deadly bomb attacks in Bangkok forced him to speak out.
“They were pointing the finger at me, so I thought it was now time to talk,” he said.
Thaksin has been living in exile since his ouster, but the new army-backed government has accused elements linked to him of masterminding bombs which killed three and injured dozens in Bangkok on December 31.
“I’m not the kind of person to do anything behind the back of others,” the former leader told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not my style. What happened was just too gruesome.”
Thaksin was in New York at the time of the putsch, and has since remained in exile, with visits to London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bali and Singapore.
He told the Wall Street Journal that he wanted to return to Thailand, but indicated that he had no intention of trying to regain his office.
“I reassure them they shouldn’t feel worried about me,” he said, referring to the ruling military leaders.
The website quoted Thaksin as saying that he did not intend to run for prime minister again, but would remain a member of his political party. Thaksin founded the Thai Rak Thai party, but stood down as leader after the coup.
He also questioned the new government’s handling of the economy.
The Thai stock market plummeted a record 15 percent in December after the central bank announced draconian capital control measures aimed at halting the rise in the country’s soaring currency.
Investor confidence was further shaken last week when the government approved changes to the Foreign Business Act that would force foreign investors to divest shares in certain circumstances.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” Thaksin was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.
“And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society. Competition is unavoidable so we have to prepare for it.”
Asked on CNN about the night of the coup, Thaksin told the broadcaster that he first heard about the putsch some four or five hours before it happened.
“Its a rumors at that time but I dont believe that this can happen again in the 21st century,” he said.
His lawyer told AFP Monday that Thaksin was currently in Singapore, and would travel to China soon.
The Thai government last week announced the diplomatic passports of Thaksin and his wife had been withdrawn, while the junta ordered television and radio stations not to broadcast statements from the ousted leader.
The Thai authorities appeared to have blocked access to television adverts for the Thaksin interview, which is due to be shown in full on CNN this weekend.
Thaksin’s image appeared for a few seconds, before the channel broadcasting CNN cut to images of celebrities and displayed the text: “Programming will return shortly.”
Thais summon Singapore envoy over Thaksin visit
BANGKOK (Jan 16, 2007): Thailand summoned Singapore’s ambassador today after ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now living in exile, was reported to have met two Singapore cabinet ministers over the weekend.
A Singaporean diplomat told Reuters the meeting between top Foreign Ministry official Krit Garnjana-goonchorn and Ambassador Peter Chan was scheduled for 0930 (0230 GMT), but declined to give other details.
Thai newspapers reported that Thaksin met Singapore Deputy Prime Ministers S. Jayakumar and Wong Kan Seng over the weekend.
The Singapore Foreign Ministry said the meeting between Thaksin and Jayakumar was “private”.
Coming less than a week after Bangkok cancelled Thaksin’s diplomatic passport, the meeting upset army-appointed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, who said the Foreign Ministry would have to take some “diplomatic actions” on the matter. – Reuters
Thaksin visit sparks Thai protest
16 January 2007, 06:53 GMT
Mr Thaksin continues to make waves in Thailand
Thailand’s military-backed government has summoned Singapore’s ambassador to protest over ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to the city state. Thailand’s leaders, who have been trying to sideline Mr Thaksin, were angry he was able to meet Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar.
They are also thought to be unhappy at media interviews Mr Thaksin gave in Singapore, one of which was critical.
Mr Thaksin’s government was ousted in a military coup in September.
The military-backed government stepped up its campaign against Mr Thaksin’s regime on Tuesday as the former ruling party, Thai Rak Thai, went on trial accused of electoral fraud.
‘Enough is enough’
Since being ousted from office, Mr Thaksin has travelled around Asia. The coup leaders fear these visits are politically motivated, and last week cancelled his diplomatic passport.
The Thai foreign ministry said it summoned Singapore’s ambassador to discuss the meeting between Mr Thaksin and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, S Jayakumar, at the weekend.
“We informed the Singaporean (ambassador) that we are concerned by the political movements made by Thaksin,” Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters.
Singapore said the meeting was purely social and private.
But Thai officials rejected the explanation, withdrawing an invitation to Singapore’s foreign minister to visit Thailand later this month.
In another sign that they are still worried by the former leader, the coup leaders asked broadcasters last week to limit coverage of comments by Mr Thaksin and his representatives.
A CNN interview with Mr Thaksin, conducted in Singapore and broadcast elsewhere on Monday night, was not shown in Thailand.
During the interview, Mr Thaksin said he had no wish to return to politics.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was time to “contribute to the Thai society outside [the] political arena.”
Mr Thaksin also spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying that the military regime that had replaced his government should not be in power for long.
“We have tasted democracy, and we believe in democracy. So it’s time for Thailand to restore democracy as soon as possible,” he said.
He criticised the government’s economic policies – such as sudden capital control measures which saw the stock market plummet, only to be partially rescinded the next day.
“Whether you like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” Mr Thaksin told the newspaper.
“To live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society… Competition is unavoidable, so we have to prepare for it.”
He also denied any involvement in deadly New Year’s Eve blasts in Bangkok which killed three people.
“I’m not that kind of person,” he said. “It’s not my style.”
Party on trial
Mr Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party faces charges of illegally financing minor parties and misusing the election commission during controversial polls in April 2006.
The polls were subsequently annulled.
The main opposition to Thai Rak Thai, the Democrat Party, also faces trial later this week for obstructing campaigning during the same elections.
Both parties deny the charges against them, but face possible dissolution if found guilty. The verdicts for both trials are expected early in May.
Singapore blasted for Thaksin visit
A private meeting between Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted Thai prime minister, and a Singapore deputy prime minister has triggered angry reactions from Thailand’s military government, which rescinded an invitation to Singapore’s foreign minister.
|Singapore says Thaksin’s meeting with Jayakumar, above, was “purely social and private” [AP]|
The government summoned Peter Chan, Singapore’s ambassador, on Tuesday to find out why Thaksin, ousted in a September coup, was granted a meeting with S Jayakumar on a recent visit.
Coup leaders say the trip, like many Thaksin has taken around Asia in recent months, was politically motivated.
Reports of a meeting with Wong Kan Seng, Singapore’s other deputy prime minister, have not been confirmed.
Surayud Chulanont, Thailand’s caretaker prime minister, said on Tuesday: “We informed the Singaporean [ambassador] that we are concerned by the political movements made by Thaksin.
“Singapore should be more cautious about allowing such movements since we have already revoked Thaksin’s diplomatic passport.”
Kitti Wasinondh, a foreign ministry spokesman, said: “The Royal Thai government was dissatisfied with the incident and the explanation.”
Singapore’s foreign ministry said Chan had “explained that the Singapore government regarded this as a private visit”.
In a statement issued on Sunday, it had described Jayakumar as an “old friend” of Thaksin’s and said their meeting was “purely social and private”.
Since being unseated, Thaksin has made high-profile trips to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
The Thai government has said that he was behind the New Year’s Eve bombs in Bangkok that killed three people with the intention of undermining confidence in the government.
But Thaksin, who said last week that he was giving up politics, denies he is trying to make a political comeback.
On Monday night, Thaksin appeared on CNN but the interview was blacked out by Thailand’s satellite channel operator, UBC.
Colleagues in court
Meanwhile on Tuesday, members of Thaksin’s former Thai Rak Thai party were in court to fight allegations of electoral fraud.
The party is accused of bankrolling token opponents to stand in last year’s April election, after their main opposition – the Democrats – boycotted and in effect nullified the results.
Hundreds of Thai Rak Thai MPs, including Thaksin, have resigned from the party, hoping to escape penalties, including being banned from political activity for up to five years.
But critics are sceptical about the motives and legitimacy of the tribunal set up after the coup.
They say the military has torn up the country’s constitution, and there is a growing disillusionment over the coup leaders’ promise of elections in October and worry that the military wants to hold on to power.
On the economic front, retailers and restaurant owners say business is slow and investors are smarting from new foreign ownership restrictions.
Thaksin said the post-coup administration, which introduced capital controls in December to stem a rise in the baht and then tightened up foreign investment laws, was taking the country down the road to economic isolation.
|Source: Al Jazeera and agencies|
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