THAI-SAUDI TIES

Embassy issues another angry statement


Saudi envoy has issued another angry statement concerning promotion of Pol Maj Gen Somkid Boonthanom.

The following is Saudi Charge d'Affaires Nabil Ashri's statement issued on September 19.

Chargé d'Affaires of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bangkok:

"I'm well-informed not ill-informed"

Bangkok - On 19 September 2010, Mr. Nabil Ashri, Chargé d'Affaires of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bangkok, made the following statements and comments in response to the news published on local media revealing comments made by H.E. Mr. Abhsisit Vejajjiva, the Prime Minister of Thailand, in connection with his meeting held at Ban Phitsanulok residence on Saturday 18 September 2010.

 Mr. Nabil Ashri expressed his astonishment to the news published about the said meeting with H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand which portrayed the Chargé d'Affairs as "ill-informed" and according to H.E. Mr. Abhisit, that he seemed to have "insufficient information about the matter" of the promotion of Pol. Maj. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom.

 Mr. Nabil Ashri reiterated that his prime duty representing his government here is to follow up the progress of solving the pending cases of Saudi Arabia with the Thai Government, stating that in-fact he has obtained beforehand all relevant information related to the baffling promotion of one of the defendants in the case of the disappearance and murder of the Saudi Businessman. The Chargé d'Affairs was quoted as saying "I'm well-informed not ill-informed". According to Mr. Nabil Ashri Thai officials whom he had met so far, have each time presented a different version or referred to a different law trying to explain the issue to him.

 Mr. Nabil Ashri said that "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's goal on this issue stems directly from its firm and clear foreign policy of non-interference, and seeking closer cooperation and developing friendly international relations, as its relations with the Kingdom of Thailand suffered because of the appalling unsolved crimes currently pending and which have resulted in the downgrading of bilateral relations affecting both the people of Saudi Arabia and Thailand for more than 20 years", adding "it is my duty to try to negotiate this issue with the Thai Government, in order to avoid any further tension or undesirable complications in bilateral relations".

 Mr. Ashri noted that "Nonetheless, I strongly object to comments made by Thai officials to the public claiming my misunderstanding or 'ill-information' of local issues and laws regarding the promotion of Pol. Maj. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom who is currently indicted in the case of the disappearance of a Saudi citizen and charged with murder, among other serious crimes, in the criminal court". Mr. Ashri said that "I maintained our courteous approach to the sensitive situation which is why I have resolved to work at bilateral diplomatic levels with the Thai government instead of publicly addressing every single comment made by officials regarding the issue".

 Mr. Ashri added that until now, the afternoon of 19 September 2010 "the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bangkok has not yet received any clarification or official notice regarding the issue of promoting Pol. Maj. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom, therefore hoping that I, or the Saudi authorities will understand this issue will not be an easy matter, because it seems that different officials refer to different sets of laws and regulations to clarify this issue to us". He added that "Every time I meet a Thai official, a different article of law or law or set of laws is mentioned to me, and my government will surely not accept an unsupported explanation from my side, so until then our stance remains". Mr. Ashri said "perhaps the confusing and unclear statements made by officials on this subject have led to the assumption that the issue was cleared to us but that we misinterpreted the laws which is absolutely not true; and we have no official clarification until now."

 Mr. Ashri referred to the various comments by Thai officials to the media justifying the decision to promote Pol. Maj. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom and citing - without further explanation - a number of complex and various laws and regulations relevant to the promotion, and said "My comments regarding these complex and various laws that many officials have referred to defending the promotion of Mr. Somkid, are that all laws are usually drafted and applied with the view of the general public, so I would assume that no law is too complex to understand - no matter how many there are - and their primary purpose or goal misunderstood".

 Mr. Ashri noted that "the purpose of the laws, regulations, and the constitution IS TO BENEFIT THE GENERAL PUBLIC and not a certain individual. Therefore it is utterly incomprehensible, or justifiably that a person charged by the highest state justice authority with a serious crime such as murder be considered for promotion let alone permitting and defending such a decision. I also note that promotion is normally a reward for outstanding performance in serving the public coupled with other criteria related to good conduct policies such as ethical qualities and integrities in the line of law enforcement agencies which should demonstrate and uphold the highest standards".

 Mr. Ashri further added that "I have studied the relevant laws relating to disciplinary measures and all other relevant parts of laws whenever mentioned or referred to by any Thai official in defense of the Government's decision to promote Mr. Somkid, and found that on the contrary, there is an array of questionable issues that need urgent clear explanation, and an apparent effort by some people to persistently confuse the situation and distort the facts around the criminal case of the missing Saudi citizen and the defendants charged with his murder", Mr. Ashri said that "the goal seems to rush assumptions to be facts, and put the blame on misinformation or misinterpretation", adding that "I also have received the proper legal consultation and advise with regard to these laws hence our objection and protest was based since the beginning on valid and legally disputable arguments".

 Mr. Ashri stated that "this particular case [of Mr. Al-Ruwaili] had been classified as a special case according to the Thai justice system, so far we have seen nothing special about it, it has dragged on long enough along with the other two cases". The Chargé d'Affaires also renewed his personal worries that the issue may directly affect diplomatic relations saying that "I am trying my best to come to terms with Thai officials on the diplomatic level, so that the current situation is not seen as an indication undermining the seriousness of the Thai authorities to resolve issues currently hindering restoring bilateral relations, or escalating the current situation, I also stress that it is the duty and obligation of the Thai authorities to see that these issues are resolved properly". Mr. Ashri added that "despite the slow and lack of progress, we continued to extend our understanding and patience in the past in pretext outcomes put forward to us by 17 past governments.  Nevertheless at the current level of the situation, we are well within our rights to express our astonishment, request the Thai Government to clarify this unacceptable situation in-order to rectify any subsequent consequences, and urge the authorities to take the necessary measures to mend diplomatic ties with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

 Mr. Ashri noted that besides not receiving any official clarification on the issue "obviously the sentiments of the Saudi People who have received no answer or justice for two decades on the three serious cases that have damaged diplomatic relations, have not been taken into account", he added that "additionally intricate and interrelated issues on all levels should have been carefully considered based on unrestrained views of international relations between countries".

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Bangkok Press release no. 4 issued on 19 September 2010 at 14:00 hours.


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