Friday, August 22, 2008

No plans over Thaksin passports yet


PM : No plans over Thaksin passports yet

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has so far not made a decision over the passports of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seeking political asylum in Britain.

Mr Samak's short reply was ''No policy so far''when asked yesterday about the Foreign Affairs Ministry's proposal that he should have the final say about Mr Thaksin's passports.

Mr Thaksin holds two passports _ one diplomatic and one ordinary _ while his wife Khunying Potjaman carries an ordinary passport.

Calls for the withdrawal of Mr Thaksin's diplomatic passport are growing after he and his wife jumped bail during a trial where they are accused of abusing Mr Thaksin's power to help Khunying Potjaman buy a plot of land at a deflated price.

The People's Alliance for Democracy, which rallied outside the ministry on Thursday, is demanding that both passports be revoked.

Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag yesterday said Mr Samak must have the final say over whether the former prime minister's passports should be cancelled.

Mr Tej added that this case is considered special and requires a decision from Mr Samak.

''The person in focus is a former prime minister. So the prime minister must make a ruling. If it involved an ordinary person, the ministry would make a decision.

''Mr Thaksin is not an ordinary man. He is the former prime minister,'' he said.

He said he plans to raise the matter at Tuesday's cabinet meeting and he expects Mr Samak to consider the ministry's Aug 21 letter involving Mr Thaksin's passports before the cabinet meeting.

Mr Thaksin's diplomatic passport was revoked after the 2006 coup, but was reinstated earlier this year after the People Power party came to power.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called on the Foreign Ministry to stick to the regulations regarding Mr Thaksin's passports.

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