Ousted Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra is free to return from exile in London provided he lets the government know when he wants to come back, new Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said on Saturday.
"Thaksin has phoned me and I told him that it is his birth right as a Thai to return. There is no ban on this but only his timing that we should first discuss," Surayud told reporters after a brief visit to Laos.
It was not clear if Thaksin, ousted in a bloodless military coup on Sept 19, had any immediate plan to return to Thailand.
Some leading critics of Thaksin have asked the former leader not to return as it could trigger clashes between groups supporting and opposing him.
The military, led by Army Commander-in-Chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin, staged the coup while Thaksin was in New York preparing to address the United Nations General Assembly.
The deposed leader later flew to London where he has since stayed with members of his family.
Thaksin still enjoys popularity in some parts of rural Thailand that have benefited from social and welfare programmes adopted by his Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) Party while he was in power during 2001-2006.