Thailand Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has indicated that the military, which staged a coup last September, might allow deposed leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return home after a permanent government is formed following the general elections later this year.
In a live TV interview broadcast on Modernine TV (Channel 9) on Tuesday night, Gen Surayud said there would be some conditions for Thaksin's return, most importantly his promise to quit politics.
"However, that would only be possible after the general elections were successfully held and a new government was in place," the general said.
Gen Surayud also indicated there was some resistance within the military which might complicate Thaksin's eventual return.
Moreover, Thaksin himself has failed to convince his critics that he really would give up politics as he said on several occasions in interviews with foreign media, given his frequent high-profile international media appearances recently.
"We have to think about it. If he really honours his words, that will be acceptable.
But we have learned from the past that sometimes he said one thing but did otherwise.
It is not absolutely certain that he will always do what he says", Gen Surayud said during the interview.
When asked if he was irritated by Thaksin's political movement abroad since his self-imposed exile, the premier said he was unruffled because "Thaksin had the right to his opinions and that Thai people are able to judge for themselves whether what Thaksin said was true or not.