Surapong: NCPO should allow Yingluck to visit Europe

Surapong: NCPO should allow Yingluck to visit Europe

Former foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul says Yingluck Shinawatra should be allowed to accept the invitation issued by the European Parliament and travel to Europe.

The European Parliament has invited Ms Yingluck, as a former prime minister, to share her views with its members in either the Belgian capital, Brussels, or in Strasbourg, in northeastern France.  The invitation did not mention a date.

Ms Yingluck reportedly plans to ask the National Council for Peace and Order to allow her to make the trip. She is prohibited from leaving the country without the NCPO's permission.

Mr Surapong said on Monday that accepting the invitation would benefit Thailand.  If the NCPO allowed her to go, it would be a chance to explain to the European Community that Thailand was moving toward a general election and was in the process of drafting a new constitution.

More importantly, it would show that the government did not restrict the basic rights and freedoms of the people, since Ms Yingluck was still regarded as being innocent because no legal case against her had been concluded.

It would also show Thailand still adhered to the rule of law, said Mr Surapong.

The former foreign minister said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the NCPO chairman, should take this opportunity to let the European Community see that Thailand will allow the people to participate in the constitution-drafting process, and let students and other people to carry out democracy-promoting activities. It should end the detention of people whose political opinions differ from the NCPO's. This would improve Thailand's image in the eyes of the world.

"As a former leader of the country, with full maturity and great experience, I do not believe Ms Yingluck would say anything harmful to her own country," Mr Surapong said.

Mr Surapong said the invitation letter did not specify a date for Ms Yingluck to be in Europe because the hosts realised she still needed permission from the NCPO to travel abroad.

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