Monday, April 13, 2009

Broker needed?

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday offered himself as a mediator to broker peace talks between the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy.

Abhisit suggested that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat personally enter into talks with thestarting last night upon his return from Peru. It is deemed necessary that Somchai should try to negotiate a settlement as soon as his plane landed, Abhisit said."I don't want to see bloodshed. More importantly I don't want to see the demise of democracy," he said, alluding to the dire situation relating to the besieged Suvarnabhumi Airport.He said he feared for the worst if Somchai failed to take prompt action by continuing to ignore the demand for his resignation.He said he conveyed his message via Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, who was the acting prime minister during Somchai's absent.Although Chaovarat was receptive to the mediation, Somchai has yet to give a formal reply whether to accept or reject the talks, Abhisit said.

The country is suffering from irreparable damage and not in a position to withstand a prolonged shutdown of the airport, he said.

The fight between the government and the PAD is spiralling out of control and society has become a hostage trapped in fractious politics, he said.

The Democrats have condemned violence involving rival crowds and the airport blockade but found it futile to assess blame, he said. The urgency is to restore normalcy in order to limit the damage, he added.

He voiced optimism that it was not too late to start talks. The political turmoil would not end even if a civil war broke out because political differences would not be reconciled by armed clashes, he said.

"Somchai owes it to the country to reason with his opponents," he said.

Should the PM be reluctant to respond to the PAD's demands, he is always free to keep his telephone open for instructions from abroad, he said alluding to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seen as having decisive influence over the government. Abhisit warned the rival camps to settle their differences in a speedy manner, otherwise the country might risk international intervention. The prolonged disruption of international flights might be the ground for the UN to take action, he said.

from The Nation

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