Reports Of Suthep Meeting With Army Chief Denied

Suthep Thaugsuban

(11 December) The Royal Thai Army has denied the report that anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has secretly met with army chief, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.

A number of media agencies have previously reported that Mr. Suthep met with Gen. Prayuth along with former Minister of Defence, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, and former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen. Anupong Paochinda, yesterday at the headquarters of 1st Infantry Regiment.
 
The report fueled rumours that Mr. Suthep might be courting the military strongmen into launching a military coup or pressuring Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra to resign from her position as a caretaker Prime Minister.
 
But Col. Winchai Suwaree, deputy spokesman of the Army, said no such incident has occurred. Mr. Suthep did not visit the 1st Infantry Regiment, while Gen. Prayuth and other former commanders mentioned in the news reports were at the Regiment headquarters yesterday, according to Col. Winchai.
 
"There is no reason or necessity for such discussion to happen anyway," Col. Winchai said.
 
The deputy spokesman also dismissed reports that Ms. Yingluck would meet with the military leaders today. 
 
"The Commander-in-Chief will give his support in finding the solution of this crisis in accordance with proper procedures, and within appropriate boundary," Col. Winchai assured reporters, "He will not express any personal comments".
 
Gen. Prayuth wished all sides to avoid confrontation, violence, and unlawful activities, Col. Winchai added. 
 
Mr. Ekkanat Prompan, spokesman of the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King as Head of State (PCAD), likewise dismissed the rumours that PCAD′s secretary-general had met with Gen. Prayuth.
 
In the press conference earlier today, Mr. Ekkanat also accused Mr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a famous academic from Chulalongkorn University, of "conspiring with Thaksin Regime to defame the people" by expressing his anti-PCAD views in interviews with foreign press.
 
"He tries to destroy the power of the people. He insults the people′s movements," Mr. Ekkanat said, "The academic tries to paint the movement as a power consolidation into the hands of Mr. Suthep. That is not true. Our movement is about giving power to the majority of the people".
 
Mr. Ekkanet urged the public not to believe such "distortion" of academic principles by Mr. Thitinan. 
 
He also branded the media reportsthat anti-government protesters have stolen personal belongings of state officials during their occupation of Government Complex as yet another "false propaganda" with an aim to discredit the "people".
 
 

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