Friday, March 23, 2012

Sonthi 'must yield coup secrets' Truth needed to heal divisions, Sanan says

Maj Gen Sanan Kachornprasart has renewed his call for Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin to reveal who was behind the 2006 coup that toppled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Democrat Party MP Nipit Intarasombat, right, hands a letter to Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, chairman of the House committee on national reconciliation, to oppose the panel's decision to support amnesty for offenders who violated the emergency decree and to favour dropping criminal charges levelled against politicians by the defunct Assets Scrutiny Committee. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Telling the truth about the coup will help improve the political situation while keeping the public in the dark would only make things worse, he said.
Maj Gen Sanan, advisory chairman of the Chartthaipattana Party, said in a radio interview that he had asked Gen Sonthi to reveal who was behind the putsch.
Gen Sonthi was chairman of the Council for National Security, which toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra administration on Sept 19, 2006. Today he is an MP and chairman of the House committee on national reconciliation.
Maj Gen Sanan said the military coup was to blame for the political violence that had ensued.
Unless Gen Sonthi tells the truth and clarifies whether the ammart, or the elite and people beyond the reach of the constitution, backed the coup as claimed by the red shirts, doubts would continue to nag society and this could have repercussions on the highest institution.
"Gen Sonthi should now tell the truth and reveal whether the 2006 coup was his own idea or if someone else was behind it; otherwise reconciliation efforts can't go ahead.
"People will wonder why Gen Sonthi, who was the coup engineer, is heading the reconciliation committee himself. Just telling the truth will improve the situation," Maj Gen Sanan said.
He said if Gen Sonthi can answer his question, doubts will be laid to rest and anger eased considerably.
Maj Gen Sanan said he had received intelligence reports confirming the ammart were not involved in the coup.
On Wednesday, Man Gen Sanan posed several questions about the coup to Gen Sonthi during a reconciliation study forum held by the King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI) in Bangkok.
He asked Gen Sonthi whether after the coup, Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda invited Gen Sonthi to have an audience with His Majesty the King; whether Gen Prem was aware of the coup plot; and whether Gen Sonthi informed Gen Prem about the coup before he launched it.
During his turn at the podium, Gen Sonthi refused to answer Maj Gen Sanan's questions. Gen Sonthi said he could not answer certain questions while he was still alive.
Responding to Maj Gen Sanan's comments yesterday, Gen Sonthi said he could not answer Maj Gen Sanan's questions because many of those involved in the coup are still working in government service.
Revealing their names would only land them in trouble and he would rather take all the blame himself, Gen Sonthi said.
Gen Sonthi also refused to answer whether Gen Prem took him for an audience with His Majesty.
"Answering this question will not do any good at the moment given that reconciliation efforts are under way," he said.
Gen Sonthi also said his committee would not make any changes to the national reconciliation study by the KPI before presenting it to parliament. The report contains proposals by impartial academics and should be left untouched, he said.
Meanwhile, Wuthisarn Tanchai, deputy secretary-general of the KPI, said yesterday the aim of the forum was to find solutions for the future, although there was no need to dig up and reveal the truth behind the political conflict at the same time.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday said she wanted the country to move on in a favourable climate.
She urged all sides to meet for talks and listen to each other and decide how they will walk forward together.
Ms Yingluck believes the Sonthi committee will take into consideration input from all sectors of society to formulate measures to foster national harmony. The committee is expected to submit its complete report to parliament on April 15.