Ex-envoy castigates Thaksin's diplomacy
Foreign policy for domestic consumption 'was demeaning'
A former ambassador yesterday lashed out at foreign policy under the Thaksin administration, accusing it of disregarding its obligation to the world community and lowering the Kingdom's international standing.
Speaking at a public forum yesterday, Surapong Jayanama, said the country's foreign policy under Prime Minister Thak-sin Shinawatra was largely carried out for domestic consumption and with little desire to enhance Thailand's global stature.
Surapong, who held a number of key posts in the foreign service, including director-general of the Information De-partment and East Asia De-partment, is also ex-ambassador to Vietnam, Ger-many and South Africa.
He said the country's stand-
ing on democracy and human rights had taken a dive under Thaksin.
Surapong, who last month declared his candidacy for the next Senate election in April, said Thaksin had on several occasions poured scorn on the international community.
He criticised Thaksin's handling of the aftermath of the Tak Bai incident and the storming of the Krue Se mosque.
The retired envoy said such events had placed Thailand at odds with Malaysia and a number of Islamic countries.
Senior security officials overseeing the Tak Bai demonstration went virtually unpunished for the death of 78 protesters who were heaped one atop another in the back of an army truck.
The incident drew complaints from the global community, including the United Nations, United States, European Union and a number of Muslim coun-tries, including Malaysia and Indonesia.
Surapong said Thaksin was more concerned about boosting economic figures than about issues such as human rights and democratic principles.
"Thaksin had tried to copy the tough style of Malaysian statesman Ma-hathir Mohamad and Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew but only succeeded in adopting their more negative qualities," he said.
Thaksin did not come close to emulating Ma-hathir or Lee's handling of corruption, lack of transparency or political deadlock, he said.
Last Wednesday Surapong, together with his brother Asda, also a retired ambassador, and Kasit Piromya, ex-ambassador to Washington, went on stage before thousands of anti-Thaksin protesters to call for his resignation, saying he lacked moral authority to lead the country.