Reconciliation is the means to move the country forward, Privy Council chairman Prem Tinsulanonda said in his New Year address to military leaders yesterday.
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat yesterday led top military commanders to pay a courtesy call on Privy Council chairman Prem Tinsulanonda to deliver their New Year wishes.
Speaking to military commanders, led by Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat who paid a courtesy call on him at his Si Sao Theves residence to express their New Year wishes, Gen Prem described the long political conflict in the country as a difference of opinion.
"Many people may think our country has been divided. In fact, there is no division, just differences of opinion," Gen Prem said.
"If we view the differences as arising from friendship, the country will be in peace.
"The unfortunate thing is that some people consider others who think differently from them as wrong, and bad. That would be an obstacle to achieving unity in the country."
Earlier yesterday, Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn, the supreme commander, led Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the national army chief, ACM Prajin Jantong, the air force chief, Adm Surasak Roonroengrom, the navy chief, Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, the police chief, and Pol Lt-Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, the metropolitan police chief, to call on ACM Sukumpol to offer their New Year's blessings.
ACM Sukumpol then led the top brass to call on Gen Prem.
Gen Prem said morality is also needed to move the country forward.
"The armed forces must set an example showing that they can take care of the country," Gen Prem said.
"That would help the morality of the public and military officers."
He told reporters he would like New Year's Day to serve as a starting point to build national unity through forgiveness and harmony.
Gen Sukumpol told reporters he was impressed by Gen Prem's speech.
People could have different views and still maintain their friendship, he said.
The armed forces would set an example by doing their best to work for the government and the public, the defence minister said.
Gen Sukumpol also insisted the armed forces would stay away from politics.
An army source said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra sent a New Year's greeting card to Gen Prem yesterday morning.
She also told Gen Prem she could not join the top brass in expressing best wishes for the New Year because she had to travel to Chiang Mai, the source said.
Ms Yingluck also sent Shinawatra-branded silk clothes to Gen Prem, the source said.
About the author
- Writer: Wassana Nanuam