MFA Retracts Claim of US Warning Thailand on Iraq Airstrike

Mourners holding posters of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani attend a funeral ceremony for him and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone strike on Friday, at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi / AP
Mourners holding posters of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani attend a funeral ceremony for him and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone strike on Friday, at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi / AP

BANGKOK — The foreign affairs ministry on Tuesday night retracted the claim made by minister Don Pramudwinai that Thailand was informed of the drone strike which killed Iranian top military commander before it was carried out.

Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said Don, who made the claim at a news conference with multiple reporters on Tuesday morning, was “misinformed.” Busadee also said the U.S. did not give any warnings to the Thai government contrary to Don’s statement.

“I was told he was misinformed,” Busadee said,without elaborating.

Don’s remark prompted a wave of disbelief on social media. Many found it unlikely that the U.S. administration – who chose not to alert the Congress or any of its major allies about Friday’s airstrike – would pass on the intel of such magnitude to the Thai government.

“The U.S. told us about the operation on Jan. 2,” Don said on Tuesday. “They have been in touch with us and the ASEAN countries to keep us informed of what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t mean that we could have prevented it.”

Opposition politicians also slammed Don for making a claim that could worsen the relationships between Thailand and other nations involved in the ongoing standoff in the Middle East.

Pheu Thai MP Julapun Amornvivat said Don risks drawing Thailand to the conflict, while fellow Pheu Thai MP Wan Ubamrung suggested the minister should have “kept his mouth shut” instead.