Oct 092014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2602.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2602
2007-08-02 06:00
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO8854
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #2602/01 2140600
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 020600Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7692
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002602

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D, AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ETRD MY PREL RP TH ASEAN EXBS
SUBJECT: DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE MEETING WITH THAI FM NITYA PIBULSONGGRAM

Classified By: Deputy Secretary Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Deputy Secretary Negroponte encouraged
Thailand to return to democracy by holding national elections
by the end of 2007 as intended, during an August 1 meeting
with Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram on in
Manila, site of this year’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
Nitya confirmed elections will be held December 16 and
described the civil unrest in the South. End Summary.

ON A CONSISTENT PATH BUT WITH SOME SETBACKS
——————————————-

¶2. (C) The Deputy Secretary stated that the U.S. is
concerned about Thailand’s return to democracy. Foreign
Minister Nitya Pibulsongram reported that his administration
is “on track” and moving steadily towards holding national
elections on December 16. He regretted that the government
would not be able to meet the initial deadline of November 25
due to technical difficulties with establishing enabling
legislation. FM Nitya repeatedly mentioned government
attempts to restore democracy, and the setbacks encountered,
but averred that the Thai authorities “always come back” with
a steadfast resolve to ensure democratic governance.

NOT ALL COUPS ARE THE SAME
————————–

¶3. (C) Deputy Secretary Negroponte underscored the need for
rule of law, and inquired about treatment of Thai citizens in
the period following the coup. FM Nitya responded that they
are treated as well or even better now. The coup was a very
unique “intervention,” with no bloodshed, no bullets and no
political prisoners. Since the coup, the Thai administration
had spent 8 months compiling evidence against those who moved
against the previous administration. He noted that there are
55 cases pending and currently being processed through a
Counter-corruption Committee. FM Nitya asserted that there
will be criminal indictments of those found guilty of
misdemeanors. Nitya stated that the Thaksin administration
would have been very damaging to the nation’s interest had
they continued for five more years. He alluded to massive
electoral fraud within Thaksin’s party. Nitya also indicated
that the current administration has made a lot of progress to
organize the forthcoming elections, and that a few parties
have been abolished. He stated that the Thai military have
behaved “impeccably,” passing on the baton to the civilian
administration in the immediate aftermath of the coup, and
that General Sirayudh’s membership on the Privy Council
confirms the military’s tactics as being above board.
However, they are facing difficult decisions on how to
establish the rule of law and constitution with safeguards,
and how to prevent abuses of such safeguards. Nitya
suggested that international diplomatic circles should not
jump to conclusions about Thailand’s situation and that
nothing is in black and white. He said August 19th would be
a difficult day, when a national referendum for a new
constitution– expected to pass– would be held. This was
Thailand’s first experience with such a process. Nitya
speculated that 50 percent turnout would be an optimistic
scenario and noted his concern about the legitimacy of the
new constitution. The Deputy Secretary inquired if there
would be an educational campaign that informs the public
about the forthcoming referendum. Nitya responded that there
is a huge effort reaching out to provinces.

THE TROUBLED SOUTH
——————

¶5. (C) Nitya insisted that there is no Al-Qaeda presence in
the South. They are in communication with the Organization
of Islamic Conference (OIC) and have communicated to the Arab
world about the administration’s attempts to ensure peace and
security in Southern Thailand. He alluded to extrajudicial
actions of Thaksin’s regime, exacerbated by the “religious
dimension.” He brought up the issue that 30 percent of the
workforce in the jewelry industry is from the South and that
they would be disadvantaged now that the U.S. had taken away
the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status of gold
jewelry from Thailand. The U.S. delegation responded that
the GSP decision was because of Thailand’s major strides made
in becoming globally competitive in this industry. Nitya
mentioned good progress in cultivating relations with
Malaysia, which has a key role in the situation in the South.
He indicated that Thaksin’s administration had created a
rift by alienating the Malaysian Government but that his
government has now repaired much of the damage. The Prime
Ministers of both countries met earlier this year, and tasked
their respective Foreign Ministers to resolve the issues in
Southern Thailand. Nitya described their strategy as three

MANILA 00002602 002 OF 002

“E”s: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship to enhance
competitiveness and investment opportunities for the region.
FM Nitya mentioned that Thailand has excellent relations with
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Finally, he
raised the issue of propaganda abroad that criticizes Thai
government management of the situation in the South,
referring to an organization based in Stockholm called
Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO).

¶6. (C) FM Nitya expressed hope that at upcoming APEC
meetings President Bush would meet with Thailand’s Prime
Minister, whom he referred to as “a professional soldier and
a very upright individual.” The Deputy Secretary and Foreign
Minister referred to the long years of friendship between the
two nations, as well as the historical ties, and said that
they would maintain efforts to keep communication lines open.

¶7. (U) August 1, 2007; 1640-1710; Manila, Philippines

¶8. (U) Meeting Participants:

Thailand

Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram
Norachit Sinhaseni, Deputy Permanent Secretary, MFA
Nongnuth Phetcharatana, DG, Department of American
and South Pacific Affairs, MFA
Piriya Khempol, Deputy Director-General, Department
of Information, MFA
Arthayudh Srisamoot, Deputy Director-General,
Department of ASEAN Affairs, MFA
Nopporn Adchariyavanich, Director, Department of
ASEAN Affairs, MFA

U.S.

Deputy Secretary John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State
Ted Wittenstein, Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State
Aye Aye Thwin, Notetaker
Adam Scarlatelli, Notetaker
KENNEY

   

 

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