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Thai ex-PM's passport ban lifted

(Xinhua)

18:39, December 16, 2011

BANGKOK, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Friday admitted to have lifted an order issued by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government which revoked a passport of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Bangkok Post online reported.

Speaking at a press conference, Surapong said he had ordered the lifting of the revocation after the Consular Affairs Department sent a letter to him through the permanent secretary that Thaksin had applied with the Thai ambassador to Abu Dhabi for an ordinary passport.

The Consular Affairs Department sought his advice because Thaksin's passport had been revoked since April 12 by the then foreign minister Kasit Piromya under a regulation of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Surapong said he and the government were of the opinion that Thaksin's presence in a foreign country had not caused any damage to the country and any other countries.

He, therefore, had issued an order to lift Kasit's revocation order.

It is now the matter for the Concular Affairs Department to consider Thaksin's request for the passport, Surapong said.

"I will no longer give an interview on this matter since it would be a waste of time," he said.

Surapong dared the opposition to scrutinize him in parliament if it was of the opinion that what he had done was against the law.

Thaksin, a telecommunication tycoon-turn-populist politician, became prime minister of Thailand in 2001. He was ousted by the military coup d'etat in 2006 and remains a devisive figure in Thai politics.

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