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Thailand: PM To Decide On Thaksin's Diplomatic Passport

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Newly appointed Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwt sidestepped the sticky question Friday (26 Sept) of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's "red passport."

Somchai, also deputy premier, said the decision to revoke the travel document would have to be decided Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Speaking to reporters after Friday's Cabinet meeting, Somchai said Tej Bunnag, who served briefly as the former foreign minister during the Samak Sundaravej's government, has forwarded the issue to the prime minister's office.

Consideration over of Thaksin's travel document is no longer on the ministry's list of things to consider and further action would be up to the government to take up, Sompong said.

Red passports are usually issued to the country's former foreign ministers and prime ministers. It permits them certain diplomatic privileges while travelling abroad.

The military government of Surayud Chulanont revoked Thaksin's passport but former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama reversed the decision during the Samak government.

Critics slammed Noppadon and Samak on the ground that Thaksin is a fugitive with four warrants for his arrests.

Tej, while serving at the ministry, said demand that Thaksin's red diplomatic passport be revoke was political in nature and therefore, the government must decide.

Sompong maintained that he did not join the Cabinet to assist Thaksin's numerous legal battles.

"The nation's interest is my utmost priority," Sompong said.

Sompong, who is on his way to the annual UN General Assembly meeting, confirmed that he will stopped by London but to visit his children, not Thaksin particularly.

"I haven't talk to him in a while. I'm not worry about accusing me of going to see Thaksin because I see him often anyway," Sompong said.

Sompong added that he didn't who or why he was appointed the country's minister and suggested to reporters to as Somchai about his appointment and added that he was willing to step down if he is not cut out for the job.

Somchai said he plans to give priority to Asean and the neighboring countries, particularly Cambodia where a border standoff resulted from overlapping claims have dealt a serious blow the bilateral ties. (By PIYANART SRIVALO/ The Nation/ ANN)

MySinchew 2008.09.27

 

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