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PM: Pity if Nasa cancels U-tapao plan…ASEAN co-founder,Siam, fears losing self-serving interest

Bangkokpost,26 June 2012

It would be a pity if the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (Nasa) withdrew its request for use of U-tapao naval airbase for atmospheric studies, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

She said the cabinet agreed to forward Nasa’s request to parliament for debate, and admitted this might cause Nasa to cancel the project.

Although the Council of State, the government’s legal arm, confirmed that the request did not require parliamentary approval under paragraph 2 of Section 190 of the constitution and ministries concerned had publicly explained the benefits of the Nasa project, there was still conflict of opinion.

Moreover, the opposition feared it might affect the country’s interests.

For the sake of transparency, the cabinet decided to forward the matter to parliament, Ms Yingluck said.

“The cabinet is of the opinion that we should use parliamentary mechanisms to scrutinise the request in the interests of the country.  If the scrutiny process is slow, leading to Nasa cancelling the project, it would be a pity,” she said.

The prime minister said the cabinet assigned Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to explain to the United States and hoped that Washington would understand and respect Thailand’s decision.

Ms Yingluck said the cabinet decided not to call an extraordinary parliamentary session to consider this matter because even if that was done it would not meet the Nasa deadline for Thailand to give an answer today.

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Written by Kham

26/06/2012 at 8:12 pm

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