Thai consular office to reopen in Perth


Thailand is to reopen its consular offices in Perth with the initial appointment of businessman and consultant Ruben Kooperman, the Thai Foreign Ministry says.

Kooperman, 59, describes himself as an independent construction project management consultant, as well as cultural events and long-time supporter of Aboriginal Theatre group Yirra Yaakin.

The decision to appoint Kooperman came during a Thai Cabinet meeting on February 12, 2012, but confirmation of the appointment only became available this week.

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman said the re-opening date of the consular offices, closed since 2010, was still to be set.

“The Thai Embassy in Canberra is now liaising with all the parties concerned in Australia about the opening of the office in the near future,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told AAP.

A delay in an announcement in Australia has been due to the recent appointment of a new Thai Ambassador to Australia, Maris Sangiampongsa, who officially only took up the post in Canberra on March 22.

The previous honorary Thai consul-general post in Perth had been held by Brigadier W.D. (Bill) Jamieson from 1978 until his retirement in 2010.

“There’s a certain process that needs to be gone through before the appointment can be made official,” Kooperman said.

He said the post had been offered to him by the former Thai Ambassador to Australia, Dr Kriangsak Kittichaisaree.

“I’m an independent project management consultant. Part of the reason I was asked (to take up the post) was because I was independent of any particular association,” he said.

But diplomatic sources told AAP plans are under way to eventually appoint a Thai national to the post, probably someone with close links with the governing Pheu Thai Party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Businessmen tied to Pheu Thai are reported to be looking to invest in Western Australia‘s mining industry, with a key target being the lithium mine operated by Galaxy Resources Ltd in Ravensthorpe in the state’s southwest.


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