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Thaksin: No negotiation

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, April 3, 2009 | 6:39 PM

Tells red shirts to come out in force on April 8

Published: 4/04/2009 at 12:00 AM from: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/14526/thaksin-no-negotiation

Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has crushed the government's hopes of ending the political impasse, rejecting outright its offer to hold talks.

Privy Council president GenPrem Tinsulanonda,centre, greets senior military and police officers from the Northeast at his Ban Rai Kangwon (worry-free home) residence in Nakhon Ratchasima. Security has been tightened near the residence to prevent any disturbances by red-shirt protesters. PRASIT TANGPRASERT

In last night's video broadcast to supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Thaksin said he would not negotiate and called on red-shirt protesters to come out in force for a mass rally on April 8.

He also urged red shirts upcountry to gather at provincial halls on that day, saying they should put up a fight for major change in the country.

Thaksin's stance was a complete brush-off of the government's offer.

''There was a rumour that someone has negotiated with me. That's not true. My movement is not for myself but the country's democracy, so I will not negotiate,'' said Thaksin.

He also denied a report that he had managed his phone-ins from somewhere in Cambodia.

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva welcomed attempts to find a charismatic figure to mediate between the government and the UDD.

Upon arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport from the G-20 summit in London, Mr Abhisit said the government was ready for talks, but on the condition that everything must proceed under the law and in the country's interests.

''Demands can be made but they must not be against the law and national security. In that case the government is not in a position to negotiate,'' the prime minister said.

Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej said a potential mediator was being approached and mediation was expected to take place before the April 8 rally.

The UDD was planning to demonstrate outside the Bangkok residence of Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda to demand his resignation. Gen Prem has been accused by Thaksin of engineering the Sept 19, 2006 coup that toppled his government.

''Phuyai [senior respected figures] are highly concerned about the current situation. I think it should be done before the Songkran festival. Coordination is being done,'' said the Senate speaker.

Pongthep Thepkanchana, Thaksin's personal spokesman, yesterday cast doubt on whether Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban was in a position to hold talks with Thaksin.

Mr Suthep early this week extended an olive branch to Thaksin.

According to Mr Pongthep, Mr Suthep would be better off discussing the matter with the UDD leaders.

''If Mr Suthep wants to talk, he should talk with the UDD leaders. Mr Thaksin is in no position to give any answer.''

Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun yesterday urged the public to exercise their judgement during the current political strife.

He said certain issues such as bureaucratic polity had been turned into pure nonsense and they should not be taken seriously. The political quandary started a couple of years ago, but became more complex as time went on.

However, he was confident the political tension would ease if all parties concerned made a concerted effort to resolve the conflict.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, Second Army commander Lt Gen Wibulsak Neepal yesterday led a group of army officers and government officials to welcome and give moral support to Gen Prem who visited the province.

Gen Prem had a 20-minute talk with Lt Gen Wibulsak, Police Region 3 commander Pol Lt Gen Krissada Pankongchuen and provincial governor Prachak Suwanphakdi.

Lt Gen Wibulsak said Gen Prem was in the province for the weekend and he did not raise any concerns.

About 200 policemen were deployed along the route to Gen Prem's residence. The red-shirt rally there proceeded without any incidents and the protesters dispersed shortly afterwards.

Privy councillor Gen Pichitr Kullavanijaya yesterday voiced frustration over the government's failure to take action against Thaksin.

He said Thaksin had offended the royal institution on several occasions and accused the ex-premier of attempting to bring down the monarchy.


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