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PM not worry about Gen Saprang's remarks

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont poured cold water on Friday over disparaging remarks by Gen Saprang Kalanamitr who hinted on Thursday he might quit if a younger officer bypasses him to carry the Army's torch in October.

"I have not met with Saprang but I don't think his remarks were meant as a threat of resignation," Surayud said.

Saprang is concurrently a key member of the junta and assistant Army commanderinchief, tipped as a contender to succeed General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who is scheduled for mandatory retirement in September.

Surayud said he had no knowledge about a military tradition abroad where senior officers would resign if bypassed for promotion.

"In my experience of serving in the Army, I used to work under superior officers who had less seniority than me, and I also commanded many who had more years of military service than me," he said.

He said suitability and capability were two key factors in the review for military promotion and not the years of service.

Fellow graduates from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy always view one another as brothers but their career paths would depend on many other factors than the class they graduated from, he said.

He voiced optimism that the new military lineup would not trigger infighting, noting that Sonthi has yet to finalise his decision on a successor.

General Anupong Paochinda, another of Sonthi's assistant, said he had no say in the appointment of the next Army chief although he wholeheartedly supported Saprang for the job.

"Military superiors are in charge of picking the new commander and I have no involvement in the matter," he said, revealing that Sonthi did not consult with subordinates about his successor.



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