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Thaksin to return to Thailand before May

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand from a self-imposed exile before May.

world Updated: Feb 08, 2008 11:22 IST

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand from a self-imposed exile before May, the kingdom's new foreign minister said today.

"Definitely he will return before May and his legal team will work out an exact date," Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama told reporters.

Until he was sworn in as a cabinet member on Wednesday, Noppadon had been a personal lawyer for Thaksin, ousted by the army in a coup in September 2006.

Since then, the former prime minister has been living in exile, mainly in Hong Kong and London. His wife Pojaman last month told a court that Thaksin would return to Thailand in May.

The former first couple face corruption charges filed by the previous military government. Pojaman, who returned from Hong Kong in early January, appeared at the Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty in a statement.

The new foreign minister said Thaksin had called to congratulate him on his new job.

Noppadon was one of several close aides to Thaksin who joined the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, taking key posts including the finance minister and deputy prime minister.

Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said today he hoped Thaksin would return soon. "It's time that Thaksin should come home," the minister told reporters.

Thaksin's allies were voted back into power in December in the first elections since the bloodless coup.