BANGKOK — Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pamudwinai was grilled in Parliament on Thursday by opposition MPs for having falsely claimed Thailand was informed in advance before the US assassinated a top Iranian general in Iraq.
Don’s claim was later corrected by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitak, who said Thailand had not received any tip-off about the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. The lawmakers today accused Don of reckless action that could have jeopardized Thailand’s security and harmed its ties with other countries.
“The Foreign Minister must be responsible for his words. He should resign. Would Prayuth dare to remove him and have him replaced with someone new?” Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai province Pichet Chuamuangpan told the Parliament, referring to premier Prayuth Chan-ocha.
He continued his tirade, “He dragged enemies into our home. This is very worrying. I would like to convey to Prayuth that Thailand should be neutral.”
Chonlanan Srikaew, another Pheu Thai MP and a member of the House’s Budget Committee said Don’s remark was “inappropriate and immature.”
He then praised Busadee the ministry spokeswoman for taking the step to correct Don’s remark.
The denunciation took place during a session that debates annual budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Following Busadee’s retraction, Don himself withdrew his statement on Wednesday, saying he misunderstood the information. He did not elaborate on the misunderstanding, and what responsibility he would take for the misinformation. Don was not present at today’s debate in Parliament.
Busadee was asked on Thursday whether Don will resign for his words as demanded by the MPs. Busadee said the minister has already acknowledged that he was misinformed.
The House eventually voted 248 to 6, with 200 abstaining, to approve the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ budget worth 4.9 billion baht.