PM: Opposition’s proposed solutions on South useful

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BANGKOK, Sept 19 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said results from Tuesday’s meeting with her predecessor Abhisit Vejjajiva on solutions to the southern unrest will be useful for the government’s future actions.

She said the government will be willing to listen to feedback, concerns and proposals from members of parliament in the far South to solve the long-standing problem.

The meeting was attended by several cabinet ministers, the army chief and high-ranking officials in charge of national security while former premier Abhisit was accompanied by some executives of the Democrat Party.

Ms Yingluck earlier made an overture to the Democrats for the government-opposition discussion. She described the meeting as a good opportunity to better know the problems contributing to the unresolved unrest in Thailand’s Muslim-majority South, especially Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani.

She said the government and Democrat Party shared similar opinions on several southern issues.

Mr Abhisit said after the meeting that his party advocated political-led, and not military-directed, manoeuvres to resolve the southern unrest.

The former premier said the recent establishment of the Operation Centre on Solutions to Problems in Three Southern Provinces duplicates the work of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC). The Operation Centre is jointly chaired by three deputy premiers—Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa, Pol Capt Chalerm Yubumrung and Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Though the prime minister assigned Gen Yuthasak to take the leading role in the Operation Centre, there are confusions since other deputy premiers also gave interviews on the southern issue, he said.

He said the opposition will monitor the government’s actions and “we will give more opinions if the government doesn’t follow what we have talked [about].”

Deputy Premier Chalerm said the government willingly accepts the opposition’s proposals for further actions.