(9 January) Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has invited protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban to help her resolve the ongoing political crisis.
The responsibility to avoid injuries and deaths lays on both the government and Mr. Suthep, Ms. Yingluck said.
The Prime Minister made the comment during her visit to offices of Matichon Publishing, the parent company of Khaosod newspaper, earlier today, where she expressed goodwill messages to the executives of Matichon on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the publication′s founding.
She also gave an interview to our correspondent, stating that she has instructed governmental officials and police officers to exercise restrain during their operation to contain the "shutdown" of Bangkok planned by anti-government protesters.
Mr. Suthep′s People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) has vowed to stage mass rallies in 7 major intersections across the capital city on 13 January. The "shutdown" of Bangkok is intended to pressure Ms. Yingluck into resigning from her caretaker position and scrap the general election on 2 February 2014.
Ms. Yingluck said the police will avoid confronting the protesters and they are prepared to assist the protesters in any possible way throughout the protests.
"I don?t want the rallies on 13 January to turn violent. The government has insisted that we will do everything we can to avoid the confrontation," Ms. Yingluck told our correspondent, adding that the police have been explicitly instructed to contain the protests under "international" practice.
Asked whether she is worried that a "third-hand" party might sow chaos during the protests, Ms. Yingluck admitted that it is one of her main concerns, but said she would like to ask for cooperation from the PCAD to stage the rallies without weapons and refrain from violence.
She also commented on the rumours about a possible military coup to oust her government. "What could be a reason to stage a coup?" Ms. Yingluck asked, "No one wants that to happen".
The government is committed to opening a dialogue between the administration and the protesters, Ms. Yingluck said. The dialogue may take place in a forum aimed at reforming the nations? political system, chaired by academics, private sector representatives, and members of the civil society, according to Ms. Yingluck.
Ms. Yingluck has previously proposed a forum for reforms of her own to counter the demands of the PCAD which insist that an unelected ?People′s Council? be established to implement series of reforms deemed appropriate by PCAD leadership.
"[Reform] is something we want to see, but if we only talk about what we disagree, the formation of a reform assembly will be difficult," the Prime Minister said, "So I would like to call on all sides to turn to each other and discuss what solution to our country′s reforms should be. I think this is a better solution than not talking to one another at all".
When a reporter asked her when the reform forum can be initiated, Ms. Yingluck said the government is still waiting for appropriate representatives to host the forum. "If the government chairs it, we will be seen as interfering in the reforms," she said.
Ms. Yingluck added, "I have already retreated. We already dissolved the Parliament. I am merely a caretaker leader. If they want me to take more steps back, we have to discuss how to help your country move forward, and how we can satisfy the protesters".
The Prime Minister also dismissed the question whether the government or the protest leadership should be responsible for any violence that occurs during the upcoming protests, insisting that leaders from both sides share that responsibility.
She said she needs Mr. Suthep′s help in maintaining the fragile situation.
"Both of us needs to join hands and [stabilise] the situation," said Ms. Yingluck, "So that there won?t be any violence. We should be doing our best."
Ms. Yingluck also stressed that she is willing to serve as a function to cooperate with all sides in the question for solutions to the crisis.
"Please think of the country. Where would the economy and investors? confidence be as long as we still have concerns and problems like this?," Ms. Yingluck told our correspondent, "We cannot complete the reform in a single day. Only time will be a tool to solve the problems".
The Prime Minister later chaired a meeting at the Center for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), where she discussed with many officials about the impact of the current political crisis on the Kingdom′s tourism industry.
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]