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Former PM Thaksin expected in Cambodia to meet Thai prisoner

Thailand's fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra was expected in Cambodia Sunday to meet a Thai man jailed for spying on him last month, a government spokesman said.

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AFP - Thailand's fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra was expected in Cambodia Sunday to meet a Thai man jailed for spying on him last month, a government spokesman said.

"He (Thaksin) will arrive today," government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told AFP. "He will meet the Thai man... and he will conduct one or two (economic) workshops in Cambodia during his stay."

A visit by Thaksin to Cambodia last month caused a diplomatic row when Cambodian premier Hun Sen refused to extradite the Thai tycoon to Thailand to serve a two-year jail term for graft.

Thai national Siwarak Chothipong, 31, was due to be released from prison on Monday after Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni issued a pardon. He was jailed for seven years for supplying Thaksin's flight schedule to the Thai embassy.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006, made his trip to Cambodia last month to take up an economic advisory role with the government on the personal invitation of Hun Sen.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday said his government would likely submit another extradition request if Thaksin made a return trip.

Thaksin is living abroad to avoid the jail term for corruption, but has continued to stir up protests in his homeland.

Angered by his presence in Cambodia, Thailand put all talks and cooperation on hold and tore up an oil and gas exploration deal signed during Thaksin's tenure as prime minister.

Cambodia expelled a Thai diplomat who received the flight information from Siwarak. Thailand retaliated in kind hours later.

Both countries had earlier also withdrawn their ambassadors in the dispute over Thaksin's appointment to the advisory job.
 

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