Published on August 31, 2007
Faria e Maya read a statement issued by the Presidency of the European Union and the Delegation of the European Commission concerning the EU's proposed election monitoring, saying that an MOU "would need to be agreed" for the mission to be dispatched to Thailand.
He added that such an MOU "does not interfere in the electoral process - let alone the sovereignty" of Thailand.
"An observation mission only has the mandate to collect and verify information concerning the election process, to analyse the observations, and then after the elections, to publish its findings," the statement read.
The ambassador refused to reveal the draft of the MOU, however, saying the document was still in a state of flux and open to further negotiation.
"When two parties are still negotiating on a draft, each party has to show respect and not start to speak. I think there's been some misunderstanding by the Thai government with the local media. I believe it's neither the fault of the Thai authorities nor the press," he told reporters at the Embassy of Portugal.
Portugal currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
At least two local Thai-language newspapers published what they claimed to be part of the MOU on Thursday though officials at the EU mission told The Nation that the details may not be accurate.
"There's no point in having election observers here if they're stuck in a hotel and can't do anything," said one EU official, who asked not to be named.
Faria e Maya added that the Thai government has not given a formal response yet.
The reaction came after Prime Minister Surayud and Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Meechai Ruchuphan played a nationalistic card by saying they would not allow the EU to breach Thai national sovereignty.
"The EU is interfering in Thailand's internal affairs," Meechai was quoted as saying on Wednesday. "Are they the United Nations? Are they going to sign an MOU to allow us to monitor their elections?"
Faria e Maya said it was the first time the EU had expressed an interest in observing a Thai general election because of the very "simple" reason that "Thailand is now in a process of returning to democracy".
"It's up to the host country to accept or not, to take the initiative to invite or not," Faria e Maya explained. "So far we have no reply from the Thai authorities."