Yutthasak will not quit over audio clip, PM says

There has been no talk of Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa resigning his post as deputy defence minister, says the PM, despite the controversial audio clip now making headlines.

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Still on the job. The PM says Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa remains her deputy defence minister. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

Yutthasak will not quit over audio clip, PM says

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has brushed aside speculation that Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa will resign following the release of an audio clip featuring an alleged conversation between himself and ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Ms Yingluck said yesterday Gen Yutthasak had talked to her on the telephone about the clip, but their conversation did not involve his resignation as deputy defence minister.

The prime minister, who is also defence minister, said Gen Yutthasak told her he did not know the details of the clip so he could not give her much information about the matter. The audio clip must be first examined by specialists to determine its veracity, she said.

Ms Yingluck said she did not think the clip would pose a problem between the government and the armed forces.

"The government and the armed forces give each other due honour and respect,' Ms Yingluck said. "I believe there will not be any problem."

The conversation in the clip was about a plan to push for an amnesty law to bring Thaksin home. It also touched on the possibility of amending Defence Ministry regulations concerning a military reshuffle and appointments of military officers, and the government's control of the armed forces.

Gen Yutthasak earlier denied it was his voice in the clip, while the ruling Pheu Thai Party claimed the recording might have been doctored.

A Defence Ministry source said Gen Yutthasak met Thaksin in an airport restaurant in Hong Kong on June 22, eight days before the cabinet reshuffle. The source said the meeting was private, so perhaps somebody at the restaurant recorded the conversation.

Gen Yutthasak met Thaksin to discuss a report that two top military officials had agreed to help Thaksin to return to Thailand on the condition that he would stay out of politics, the source said.

The source said the clip had damaged all parties, including Supreme Commander Gen Thanasak Patimapakorn who was mentioned in the clip as someone who was under the control of the prime minister. The man alleged to be Thaksin in the audio clip had also said he placed a lot of trust in Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief.

"This can answer why Prime Minister Yingluck [Shinawatra] took on the defence minister's role. Thaksin wants to please the armed forces and won't transfer the supreme commander and the army chief and can be confident there will be no coup," the source said.

Related search: Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa, audio clip, Thaksin

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