Thaksin travel plans
'Ministry or USA should confirm visa'
Ex-foreign minister says people should sever ties with USFormer foreign minister Kasit Piromya urged the Foreign Ministry and the United States yesterday to clarify a claim by many figures in the ruling Pheu Thai Party that ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra was given a visa to enter the US a few months ago.
Kasit, a party-list MP of the opposition Democrat Party, said the US always says that it is a world leader that respects the law and human rights under democratic principles. When the US asked Thailand to extradite alleged Russian weapons trader Viktor Bout to face trial in the US, the Thai government led by the Democrat Party adhered to the request, he said.
He wondered why the US granted a visa to a fugitive former leader who had fled a jail term at home.
"If the claim is true, it means the US does not respect Thailand's justice system but insults the country's law and integrity,'' he said.
In 2008, Thaksin was sentenced in absentia by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division on Political Office Holders to two years in jail for a conflict of interest over a land deal.
A former Thai ambassador to the US, Kasit refused to confirm the Democrat Party's comment earlier that Thaksin had received a visa to enter the US under a deal that the US would get access to use U-tapao airport.
Kasit said the party had only made an observation and it was not sure what had actually happened, so the US must clarify the matter.
"We have always given the US our cooperation. If the US does not cooperate with us [and extradite Thaksin], we must condemn and all Thais must sever ties with the US,'' he said.
Pheu Thai Party deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said Thaksin had been given a visa from the US and European countries two to three months ago. He said Thaksin would go to the US for a business trip very soon.
"There is no need for the Democrats to be excited over that. Sometimes, Thaksin is so close by Thailand,'' he said.
Senior Democrat figure Suthep Thaugsuban, on his 63rd birthday yesterday, urged Thaksin to stop hurting Thailand, saying if the ex-leader wants to fulfil all of his wishes and desires by bullying Thais, the country would never succeed.
Asked if he was worried about a possible political crisis regarding the Constitution Court ruling about the charter amendment, Suthep said all people had to respect to the court decision.
Asked if he still trusted House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont after a voice clip that showed that he was influenced by Thaksin, Suthep said he had lost faith and trust in Somsak long ago and he had said in Parliament that as Somsak did not respect the Constitution, he would not respect him as Speaker.
Thaksin's legal adviser Noppadon Pattama dismissed Suthep's statement, saying it is a pity Suthep could not say anything positive on his birthday but he was not angry because no matter what Suthep said, Thais still voted for the Pheu Thai Party.
"These people are like those in a reality show. When no one votes for them, they cry out and do not respect the people's decision,'' he said.