Somchai vows truce talks will press ahead

Somchai vows truce talks will press ahead

Luang Pu takes flak over Facebook leak

Election Commission (EC) member Somchai Srisuttiyakorn says he will press ahead with truce negotiations he initiated between the government and protest leaders despite the "premature disclosure" of the talks process.

Mr Somchai said the negotiations were set in motion following Monday’s meeting between Luang Pu Buddha Issara, a co-leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and Pheu Thai member and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat. The EC member acted as a go-between.

He said he wants all sides, especially the caretaker government and the PDRC, to help create an atmosphere conducive to the talks.

The next round of negotiations was expected to take place next week and it would involve individuals who have decision-making power.

Commissioner Somchai said no solutions to the political stand-off were reached because the Monday talks were only a prologue to a dialogue between the government and the PDRC.

‘’I want the PDRC and the government to send signals to their supporters that the talks will lead to a way out. Don’t think about the outcome yet. I think things will become clearer next week,’’ Mr Somchai said.

He said details of Monday’s talks between the former prime minister and the monk would be discussed today in a television programme to be broadcast on Channel 11.

The meeting between Luang Pu Buddha Issara and the former prime minister was leaked by the monk himself who discussed the meeting on his Facebook page. The EC member also confirmed the meeting yesterday on Facebook.

On Facebook, commissioner Somchai, who is in charge of election administration, said the gist of Monday’s meeting was that both sides had agreed to create a dialogue process that was hoped would lead to solutions to the political crisis.

He noted the one-hour meeting was “open and direct” and neither side had made any demands yet.

Instead they exchanged ideas and identified key individuals who would join the next round of negotiations.

“A week after this if violence shows signs of decreasing, the participants in the next round of talk will increase to four. Everyone must help if they want to see the next round of talks,” he wrote.

Luang Pu Buddha Issara said yesterday he decided to hold talks with the former premier because he hoped it would help reduce tensions.

Violence was escalating and to avoid further losses the negotiations should not be delayed.

The monk added the EC member would next week try to broker talks between Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan and a separate round between PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban and caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

He said Mr Suthep was informed of the negotiations between himself and the Pheu Thai representative.

However, Luang Pu Buddha Issara came under fire from Pheu Thai yesterday for leaking the talks to the public.

Mr Somchai, the former prime minister, said it was a pity that Luang Pu Buddha Issara discussed their conversation on Facebook.

Even though the talks were not complicated, it was agreed they should not be revealed to the public. Moreover, not all points raised during the conversation were covered.

Mr Charupong said the disclosure of the meeting would hinder further talks.

He said the party was informed of the negotiations before Mr Somchai went ahead with them and the party and the government agreed the dialogue might ease tension and lead to a solution.

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