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People's Daily Online -- Thaksin denies planning to remove Thai army chief

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UPDATED: 10:00, July 16, 2006 Thaksin denies planning to remove Thai army chief

Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Saturday denied that he planned to remove Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin as the army commander-in-chief.

The prime minister said in a regular radio program on Saturday that the transfer of top military posts has to be agreed upon by the Defense Council, which has to decide whether to rotate positions among the armed forces.

Thaksin said there will be three top positions vacant and the Defense Council would have to make decisions on how to rotate positions among top military officers to fill the posts. The three posts are supreme commander, permanent secretary for defense and armed forces inspector-general.

"I have no idea about the rotation and no one talks to me about it. I ordered no one about the reshuffle because I regard it's responsibility of the Defense Council," Thaksin said.

Thailand's Supreme Commander Gen. Ruengroj Mahasaranont warned the armed forces on Thursday to prepare for a political crisis as Thaksin had ordered an early military reshuffle to shore up his political security. Some reports said that Gen. Sonthi will be displaced by a classmate of the Prime Minister.

Source: Xinhua

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