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Cablegate: Thai Pm Surayud Promises Continuity to Cambodia

VZCZCXRO2538
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #1891 2910848
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180848Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7470
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 001891

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KDEM ENRG CB TH
SUBJECT: THAI PM SURAYUD PROMISES CONTINUITY TO CAMBODIA


1. (SBU) Thai interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont's
one-day visit to Phnom Penh October 15 was intended to
reassure the Cambodian government of Thailand's stability and
that the Thai government (RTG) would continue to strengthen
ties between the two countries despite the change in
government following the September 19 coup, according to the
Thai Embassy. Thai Embassy Poloff Songchai Chaipatiyut told
Pol/EconOff October 17 that the theme of Surayud's visit was
continuity. Songchai said General Surayud briefed Cambodian
leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, on the current
political situation in Thailand and promised to continue
joint Thai-Cambodian projects.

2. (SBU) Specifically, Surayud committed to continuation of
Thai projects to repair the road from Siem Reap through An
Long Veng to the Thai border at Chong Sangam in Sisaket and
four bridges along the road from Koh Kong in southwestern
Cambodia to Trat. He proposed increased cooperation in
combating the spread of avian influenza in the region.
Songchai said that Surayud agreed to continue talks on
revenue sharing of petroleum in the Overlapping Claims Area
in the Gulf of Thailand. However, Surayud has moved
responsibility for the issue back to the Thai MFA from the
Ministry of Energy. The Cambodians, he said, asked Surayud
to open two additional border checkpoints, one near Preah
Vihear in northern Cambodia and a new checkpoint near the
overcrowded border crossing at Poipet/Aranyaprathet. Surayud
reportedly responded that the RTG would have to follow
internal procedures for evaluating the RGC proposals before
making a decision.

3. (U) Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister
Pridiyathorn Devakula and Foreign Minister Nitya
Pibulsonggram, Surayud paid courtesy calls on National
Assembly President Heng Samrin and Senate President Chea Sim.

4. (SBU) Songchai commented that there appeared to be a
great difference in style between Surayud and former Prime
Minister Thaksin. When Thaksin traveled, he always brought
along a large entourage, including many Cabinet Ministers.
Surayud had a small party and only two Ministers. More
importantly, Thaksin's visits generally mixed official and
private business (IT and satellite) concerns. Even former
Foreign Minister Surakiart, who was a former member of PTT's
board of directors, included business interests in his
visits. In contrast, Surayud ties were not with business,
but with the military, including the former resistance
forces, when as a Special Operations officer he worked with
the Cambodian resistance against the Vietnamese occupation.
Songchai noted that Surayud's first congratulatory message
from Cambodians on his appointment was from FUNCINPEC
President Ranariddh, followed by former FUNCINPEC resistance
General Nhek Bunchhay, although the government was quick to
offer its congratulations, as well. Lastly, Songchai noted
that Surayud knew sufficient Khmer that he generally
understood Hun Sen's remarks, though Surayud responded in
Thai.
MUSSOMELI

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