Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 08:50
Won’t host Thai government-in-exile: Cambodia
By Xinhua in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday that his country would not be the base of a Thai government-in-exile.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for more than 3,000 students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said Cambodia will not allow any foreigners to use the country as a base from which to attack a foreign government. He cited the kingdom’s Constitution, which stipulates “permanent neutrality and nonalignment”.

“I’d like to stress that Cambodia is not the location for any country or group, even Thaksin’s group, to form a government-in-exile,” he said, referring to former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“Cambodia’s constitution does not permit any foreigners to use its territory as a base to create armed forces to attack the government of another country.”

Hun Sen made the remarks after Robert Amsterdam, a senior legal adviser to Thaksin, the brother of ousted Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, reportedly said on Friday that members of Yingluck’s deposed government are considering forming a government-in-exile in the wake of last week’s military coup.

Based on Cambodia’s proximity to Thailand and the close ties between Hun Sen and Thaksin, foreign media outlets speculated in recent days that Cambodia would be an ideal location for such a plan.

Hun Sen said that even though he is a close friend of Thaksin, Cambodia cannot allow this development in Cambodia.

“Cambodia considers the situation in Thailand as Thai internal affairs,” he said. “Cambodia has not interfered and will not interfere in Thai internal affairs.”

Hun Sen said that because Cambodia shares a border with Thailand, maintaining relations and cooperation with Thailand is vital, regardless of whether Bangkok has a civil or military-ruled government.

“There is no other choice because the Thai military-ruled government now is endorsed by the Thai monarch, so it is inevitable that we have to work with the military government,” he said.

“I hope that ex-Thai prime ministers Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra as well as the Pheu Thai Party will understand Cambodia’s stance,” he said.

The prime minister also appealed to Cambodian workers and businesspeople in Thailand to continue to work as usual and respect Thai laws.

The Thai army took control of the government in a coup last Thursday, ousting an elected caretaker government. On Monday, Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha as head of the National Council for Peace and Order.