Former Thai PM Thaksin calls for unity

July 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM
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BANGKOK, July 26 (UPI) -- Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra called on the people of Thailand to "turn and talk to each other" and "create unity."

Thaksin's comments came in a video uploaded to YouTube by his son Panthongtae "Oak" Shinawatra on Thursday, the Bangkok Post reported. The video was made to mark the exiled former prime minister's 64th birthday on Friday.

"At the time, I thought that I should probably make merit on my 60th birthday abroad because they would definitely come to get me," Thaksin said.

"I'm worried for Thailand. There are problems that can be solved but we left them unsolved due to the lack of trust and the rifts between us," Thaksin said. "If we turn and talk to each other, create unity and discuss ways to deal with the problems in the country's best interest, I'm confident that our country will prosper again."

The video has received mostly negative comments from those who have viewed it.

"You [Thaksin] said you went to watch the opening of the Olympics in China. Why did you flee? Why didn't you return? Who's hunting you? You just decided to run away. Are you confused?" wrote a YouTube user Chawalit Peeree.

Thaksin, prime minister from 2001 until a coup led to his ouster in 2006, was sentenced in absentia to a two-year prison term in 2008 for abusing his authority by helping his wife buy state land at a discount. He has since been living in exile in Dubai.

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