BANGKOK, Aug 14 – US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Anne Kenney said the US visa granted to self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had nothing to do with politics.
Issuing US visas is done strictly according to US laws and regulations, she explained, when asked whether the action would make some Thai people feel negative towards the US government.
The ambassador spoke to the Thai media after meeting privately for 30 minutes with Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung on Mr Thaksin’s current visit to the United States which was opposed and protested by some Thais living there.
Mrs Kenney said many Thais travel to the US, with each year about 50,000 persons granted visas to the country.
On Thaksin extradition, she only said the United States was honoured that there is bilateral legal cooperation between the two nations such as on an extradition treaty, while the US government in the past has answered Thailand’s requests on such matters.
Ousted in a 2006 coup, twice-elected ex-prime minister Thaksin has mainly stayed in Dubai during his self-imposed exile after being sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for violating conflict of interest laws while securing a prime piece of Bangkok property for his then-wife at a below-market price.