'Thaksin insisted on loan for Burma'
Former minister tells AEC he tried to stop deal to lease satellite feed: source
Former foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai, a key member of Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai Party, told the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) yesterday the former premier gave an order to lend Bt4 billion to the Burmese junta in spite of his objections, according to a source.
Surakiart told the AEC he voiced objection to the plan because the money was going to the Burmese for the lease of satellite transmission signals from the iPSTAR satellite, which was owned by the Shinawatra family, the source said.
Moreover, Surakiart said the now ousted PM further instructed the Export-Import Bank of Thailand not only to approve the loan, but to raise the amount by Bt1 billion, so the Burmese could purchase extra telecommunications equipment and services from Thailand, the source said.
The decision for the approval came after a Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation meeting in Phuket in February 2004.
Surakiart was with Thaksin at the UN in New York when the military launched the coup against him on Sept 19.
Surakiart appeared on CNN to defend his boss and slam the junta but broke away from Thaksin just days later after it became evident he would not be returning to power anytime soon.
Thaksin and Surakiart came up with a policy that was favourable to Rangoon, but out of step with Western nations and some within Asean. Relations were also hurt by historical mistrust.