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Pattaya Daily News

24 August 2011 :: 11:08:15 am 57592

Thaksin in Japan denies meddling in Thai politics

TOKYO, August 23, 2011- Thailand's fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra said Tuesday on a visit to Japan that he had no immediate plans to go home and denied meddling in the two-week-old government run by his sister.
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The one-time billionaire telecom tycoon, toppled in a 2006 coup, is visiting the Asian powerhouse just a fortnight after Yingluck Shinawatra took power, in a trip his critics charge is an attempt to seek the international spotlight.

Thaksin — who is living in exile in Dubai to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption — said he was not interfering in his sister’s government, although he had helped her party with her election campaign message.

“If they need any advice, they just call me,” he said in one of several Tokyo press conferences and speeches. “I can give them advice. But if they don’t need it, I would not be involved.

“I want to relax and enjoy my life a little bit.”

While Yingluck’s government denied making a specific visa request for Thaksin, Tokyo said Bangkok had asked it to allow in the former leader, making an exception to its normal entry rules concerning criminal convictions.

“Coming to Japan is my own right. My sister has nothing to do with it,” Thaksin said, adding that “the Thai government cannot force the Japanese government to issue a visa to anyone”.

Thaksin, who served as premier between 2001 and 2006, is still loved by many poor and rural Thais but seen by the Bangkok-based elite as authoritarian and a threat to the country’s monarchy.

His removal from power by royalist generals heralded five years of political crises, both in the Thai parliament and on the streets, where his foes and supporters have held crippling rival protests.

They culminated in rallies by “Red Shirts” loyal to Thaksin last year, in which more than 90 people died in clashes between the army and demonstrators.

Speaking to journalists in Tokyo, Thaksin said that as “for my plan of going back to Thailand, I have no plan”.

“Whenever reconciliation happens, then that might be. But if reconciliation is not there, I don’t want to fuel any more conflict. I just want to be part of the solution, not part of the problems”.

The previous Democrat-led government accused the fugitive of bankrolling the 2010 Red Shirt rallies and inciting unrest, and a Thai court last year approved an arrest warrant for him on terrorism charges.

Yingluck, a political novice who her brother has described as his “clone”, has raised the idea of an amnesty for convicted politicians.

Thaksin reiterated his oft-stated position that he is innocent, saying that if he had committed any crimes, he would be “happy to be in the jail”, but that charges against him are “politically motivated”.

“I would like to urge every Thai that reconciliation is the key for the stability and prosperity of Thailand,” he said.

His Japan visit, which continues until August 28, will include a tour of northeastern areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami — a path previously trodden by several visiting foreign government leaders and officials.

Thaksin said Thailand should help Japan, just as Japan had aided his country after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, by granting visa-free access to survivors who want to recuperate in his tropical country.

“They might want to get away from the place,” Thaksin said. “Thailand should allow them to go to Thailand without a visa… That is one thing that I really want to see. I just want to give moral support to the people there.”

Reporter : AFP   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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