Suranand defends Yingluck’s Montenegro visit

The secretary-general of the Prime Minister Suranand Vejjajiva today strongly defended the prime minister’s scheduled visit to Montenegro next week that it has no hidden motive but purely trade cooperation.

Assurance from Suranand came after the opposition Democrat party noted that the visa waiver between the two countries might be a benefit to the ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was granted Montenegrin citicizenship.

He also dismissed as untrue  that the government has discouraged media representatives to accompany the prime minister’s visit to Montenegro.

Instead, Mr Suranand said that, seats on the plane have been arranged for media representatives to travel to Montenegro with the prime minister, although it would be a small plane.

He affirmed that the government has nothing to conceal the media, saying that all travels of the prime minister abroad were open to the public as they were for the interest of the country.

He explained that the signing of the agreement on visa waiver covered merely diplomats and government officials, and did not cover individuals.

He said the waiver was not aimed at helping any individuals but for the common interest of the two countries.

Earlier Democrat MP Chavanont Intarakomalsutr said the visa waiver issue needed clarification from the government of why it has to select Montenegro which is a small country with a population of just 660,000 people.

Chavanont said that Montenegro recorded just 211 Thai visitors in 2011 and trade value with Montenegro was only 210 million baht.
He said imports from Montenegro in 2011 was only 9 million baht.

He then called for the government to reconsider how much need it has to establish trade cooperation with Montenegro.

Chavanont said that currently the ousted premier still holds Montenegrin passport which still could not yet be confirmed what kind of passport it is.

If the former premier carries diplomat or Montenegrin passport, then he could enter the country as a Montenegrin citizen.

Moreover the Democrat MP said that the visa waiver would also facilitate Thai assemblymen who carry blue passports to travel to Montenegro directly, thus complicating inspection process as they do not need to apply for visas.

He added that such waiver has some hidden motive.