Thai DM: Thaksin can return after martial law is lifted[Special Report] 2006-10-15 20:35:40

Special report: Army coup in Thailand

    BANGKOK, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra can "come home," but it would be better for him to wait until martial law is lifted, Thai interim Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtat said here on Sunday.

    Boonrawd was quoted by the Thai News Agency as saying that ousted ex-premier Thaksin is welcome to return home "as a Thai citizen" but it is better that he should wait until martial law, imposed following the Sept. 19 coup, is lifted.

    It is up to Thaksin himself to consider whether it is appropriate for him to return to Thailand now and whether his return could "severely stir the waters," Boonrawd was quoted as saying.

    However, he said both Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and Gen.Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, chairman of the Council for National Security (CNS), will also have to consider whether national security could be threatened if Thaksin returns now.

    The deposed premier is now staying with his family in an apartment in London.

    Surayud Saturday told journalists that Thaksin had telephoned him and asked to return to Thailand. Surayud said he had told Thaksin it was the right of all Thais to return to their homeland but the timing must be right and details must be discussed among the concerned parties.

    "It's better to wait for the martial law to be lifted," said Boonrawd, adding that Thaksin will have to wait until that day, and that concerned officials will have to discuss the issue first to determine whether it is appropriate for him to return home.

    Meanwhile, Air Force chief Marshal Chalit Phukbhasuk, also deputy chairman of CNS, said he personally believed that martial law could be lifted within the next one or two months if everybody fully cooperates in solving the problems facing the country.

    Chalit told journalists after holding talks with the prime minister and Gen. Sonthi on the possibility of lifting martial law that several factors, including internal peace, would have to be taken into consideration before Thaksin is allowed to return home. Enditem

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Editor: Pliny Han
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