Army chief hints crisis end on way
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Army chief hints crisis end on way

'Special method' to resolve political chaos

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has hinted at the possibility of resorting to "a special method" to resolve the political crisis if all other methods fail.

Gen Prayuth made the comment yesterday when he was again pressed by reporters about the possibility of a coup to break the current political deadlock.

"Every situation has to be sorted out through legal means, but if they fail, a special method may be needed," he said. "But what this special method might be remains to be seen."

Gen Prayuth said the possibility of a coup did not need to be discussed every day.

"One can envisage that the situation might end up with a coup," he said. "I can’t promise if there will be another coup or not. I admit it would not be legal. But every coup is meant to end a crisis."

The army chief also said that past coups were in response to violent incidents and injustice. But he said the current situation is different; the people have changed and efforts have been made to avert a coup, which could be detrimental to the country if one were to happen now.

Meanwhile, caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra, in her capacity as caretaker defence minister, said: "Soldiers must do their duty until the last minute. Soldiers must protect the land, must die in battlefields.

"Today, I must be ready also to die in the democratic arena," she added.

The armed forces have so far remained neutral in the face of growing political tensions between the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the caretaker government. The military’s support can tilt the balance of power either way.

Ms Yingluck said she stood by her stance that she would talk with PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaubsuan with the help of a go-between to broker negotiations.

She hoped Mr Suthep would meet her for talks, but not to hold a debate. Mr Suthep on Thursday challenged Ms Yingluck to meet for talks on condition that the talks must be in a one-on-one format and televised live, although his proposal got a frosty reception from Ms Yingluck.

"I uphold the rules and regulations so I need to talk within a legal and constitutional framework," Ms Yingluck said. "If Mr Suthep agrees with such a framework, there will be ways to solve the problems. But if you disagree with the framework and obstruct the election, if you do not respect the rules, how can we talk?"

Election Commission (EC) chairman Supachai Somcharoen said the EC is trying to broker talks between the two rival camps.

Negotiations will be the best way out of the conflict and it will be good if all sides compromise and meet each other half-way, he said.

The EC previously arranged for former premier Somchai Wongsawat to meet for talks with Luang Pu Buddha Isara, a PDRC co-leader.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakon also said on Thursday that two more people from both sides who have the power to make decisions to solve the crisis are expected to meet for talks next week.

However, Gen Ekkachai Sriwilas, director of the King Prajadhipok Institute’s Office of Peace and Governance, yesterday said the political crisis had gone far beyond the point of negotiations.

The chances of talks are remote if the violence continues, he said.

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