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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06BANGKOK4749 2006-08-04 10:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

MFA READOUT ON THAKSIN TRIP TO BURMA

Tags:   PREL PGOV TH BM 
pdf how-to read a cable
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 004749 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR P, EAP, EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/05/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV TH BM
SUBJECT: MFA READOUT ON THAKSIN TRIP TO BURMA

REF: A. STATE 127498


B. BANGKOK 04725

BANGKOK 00004749 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Ambassador Ralph Boyce for reasons 1.4 b and d



1. (C) Summary: On August 4, Ambassador delivered Reftel A
demarche to MFA Permanent Secretary Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn.
Krit provided a detailed account of Thaksin's visit to Burma
including how the trip developed, Thaksin's rationale for
going, and a summary of the meeting between Thaksin, Than
Shwe and Maung Aye. Absent from the account is insight into
reaction of Than Shwe to Thaksin's message. Krit said that
Thaksin attempted to call Ambassador to alert him of the
trip, but was unable to connect - presumably because the
Ambassador was traveling back to Bangkok from the U.S. at the
time.

GENISIS OF THE TRIP - AN UNLIKELY MESSENGER


--------------------------





2. (C) Krit told Ambassador that Thaksin has been concerned
for some time that since former intelligence chief Khin Nyunt
was purged a "total disconnect" had developed between the RTG
and the regime. He noted that Thaksin had not visited Burma
since December 2004. Thaksin had been looking for a way to
address this problem and he saw an opportunity while he was
in Pattaya to deliver opening remarks for a conference of
ASEAN intelligence agencies on July 28 (see Reftel B).
According to Krit, Thaksin noticed that one of the key
delegates from Burma was a "young man." Thaksin found it odd
that such a young man would be selected for this delegation,
and he thought that maybe this man had some ties to the
senior generals. Thaksin approached the man (Krit did not
know his name) and mentioned that there were a number of
things he wanted to convey to Than Shwe. Krit believed that
Thaksin did not know what, if anything, to expect. Two days
later, on July 31, Than Shwe sent word that he would agree to
meet Thaksin in Naypyitaw on August 2. (Comment: FM
Kantathi is quoted in the August 4 edition of the Bangkok
Post as saying: "Yes, it was short notice and the visit was
an urgent and unprepared one, but that's the way Thailand
manages relations with neighbors." End Comment.)



3. (C) Given the very short notice of the trip, there appears
to have been little coordination with ASEAN capitals or other
interested parties. Krit said that Thaksin attempted to call
Ambassador, but that he was unable to connect. (Note:
Ambassador was en route from the U.S. to Bangkok at the time.
End note.) Thaksin did have time to call Philippine
President Arroyo to alert her to the trip. Krit said that
Thaksin assured Arroyo that he would convey the message that
ASEAN wants to be treated like a close friend, but the
Generals need to keep ASEAN informed of what they are doing,
otherwise ASEAN will be embarrassed.

THAKSIN'S RATIONALE


--------------------------





4. (C) Krit said that Thaksin's rationale for going to see
the regime was to help repair the disconnect between the
regime and the international community. According to Krit,
Thaksin was concerned that the message of mounting
frustration in ASEAN and the rest of the international
community was not being conveyed to Than Shwe by the
delegates that Burma sends to meet with the outside world.
Krit urged Ambassador not to be distracted by the "drama and
apparent secrecy of the visit," but rather to focus on
Thaksin's sincere effort to deliver this message directly to
Than Shwe.

THE MEETING


--------------------------





5. (C) According to Krit, Than Shwe was originally scheduled
to meet one-on-one with Thaksin. Krit said that Thaksin
suggested that Maung Aye attend the meeting as well,
principally because Maung Aye's English is better than Than
Shwe's. Than Shwe agreed, and Maung Aye joined the meeting
along with two notetakers.



6. (C) Krit said that Thaksin told Than Shwe that his purpose

BANGKOK 00004749 002.2 OF 003


in visiting was to "deliver hope" to Than Shwe and encourage
Burma to engage with and "embrace" the international
community. Krit said Thaksin told Than Shwe that he should
"display a consciousness of the concerns" of the
international community and explain themselves "using the
terminology of democracy that is familiar to the outside
world." Thaksin urged Than Shwe to use "the terms of
democracy" explain to the outside world the process of
drafting the new constitution, the regime's ideas on sharing
power and on devolving power to the local level. Krit said
Thaksin went on to comment that Burma may have ample natural
resources, but it needs to develop the basic essentials of
good governance and a good legal system so that potential
international investors can be confident that their
investments are safe.



7. (C) Krit said that Thaksin suggested the first step to
"display consciousness" of the international community's
concerns would be for Than Shwe to come out of Burma and
attend international meetings. He assured Than Shwe that
"people will be keen to hear and see you." Krit said Thaksin
implored Than Shwe not to become reclusive like the North
Koreans. He suggested that Than Shwe attend the September
2006 summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Havana,
offering: "I'll take you around."

ASSK


--------------------------





8. (C) Krit says that Thaksin brought up the topic of Aung
San Suu Kyi (ASSK) with Than Shwe. He said that Thaksin
began by pointing out that he is the most frequent high-level
visitor to Burma, but that he never asks to see ASSK.
According to Krit, Thaksin assured Than Shwe that he was not
there to defend ASSK or act as her advocate. That said, Krit
said Thaksin urged Than Shwe to "do something, explain your
actions and say something (positive) about what will be done
with her."



9. (C) According to Krit, Than Shwe's reaction was to say
that ASSK "harbors only animosity" toward the regime. Than
Shwe said that every time she is released she "acts in ways
that are detrimental to national unity." At that point,
according to Krit, Maung Aye interjected saying that ASSK "is
too head-strong" and asserted that there is "no need to meet
with her." (Comment: FM Kantathi claims to have urged the
Burmese to release ASSK during his side meeting with the
Foreign Minister. According to press reports, Kantathi
claims that Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win told him that
they are "looking for a way to release ASSK," but just could
not say exactly when she would be released. Judging from the
reaction of Than Shwe and Maung Aye, Kantathi's so-called
optimism appears overstated. End Comment.)



10. (C) Absent from Krit's readout of the meeting was any
reaction on the part of Than Shwe to Thaksin's message.
Apart from the less than encouraging statements regarding
ASSK, the only comments Krit shared from Than Shwe were that
he welcomed Thaksin as "a close friend" and the first head of
government to visit the new capital of Naypyitaw. Krit
acknowledged that the trip produced no tangible results, but
said that it is Thaksin's hope that the Generals will "ponder
this message from a friend who risked a great deal in order
to deliver it."

DEMARCHE DELIVERED


--------------------------





11. (C) After hearing Krit's readout of the visit, Ambassador
delivered Reftel A demarche. Ambassador emphasized that the
most disturbing thing about the trip was the surprise and
lack of consultation. Krit responded by saying that Thaksin
often acts on his instincts and is "a person of panache and
flair with a penchant for drama and intrigue." Krit remarked
that when he first learned of the trip on July 31, "my
eyebrows lifted and I was worried about the dust that it
would kick up." Ambassador thanked Krit for the detailed
account of the visit and said it would be reported
immediately to Washington.

COMMENT

BANGKOK 00004749 003.2 OF 003




--------------------------





12. (C) Krit's account fills in some gaps in our
understanding as to how this ill-advised trip came to pass.
Most of the Thai press is not buying the official line;
rather, there is widespread speculation that the trip was
undertaken to advance Thaksin's business interests. Krit
urged that we not be distracted by the "drama and 'apparent'
secrecy of the visit," but that's precisely what everyone is
doing.
BOYCE