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General news >> Thursday March 08, 2007

Military coups 'should never be ruled out'


A military coup should never be ruled out, assistant army chief Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr said yesterday. The Council for National Security's assistant secretary-general said a military takeover is about cause and effect.

''Everything falls under the [law] of cause and effect. A coup will take place if there is a cause and that cause is justified,'' he said, responding to rampant speculation about a second coup.

Gen Saprang said the national interest stood above everything else.

''If the country plunges into a crisis, a coup can always happen. I don't say this because I want to stage a coup,'' he said.

Gen Saprang also yesterday dismissed the plan of acting Thai Rak Thai leader Chaturon Chaisaeng to seek a probe into his recent overseas trip as a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

The CNS member has come under strong criticism for spending 7.2 million baht on a trip to Germany and England. The expenses were covered by Airports of Thailand (AoT), which Gen Saprang serves as president. He refused to clarify details of the week-long trip, saying any questions about it should be directed to AoT.

Gen Saprang insisted there was no rift in the CNS because its members had no vested interests. His relations with CNS chief and army commander Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin had never been better.

''I'd say 'goodbye' and seek a transfer if he was not happy with me. I won't give him a hard time,'' he said.

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