PM to chair southern violence meeting; invites opposition to join


BANGKOK, Sept 12 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said Wednesday that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra agreed to chair a meeting on Thailand’s southern violence problem, and invites the opposition Democrat Party to join the meeting.

Mr Chalerm said that the premier ordered re-extending an invitation to opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to participate in a meeting dealing with the insurgency in the deep South after the Democrats rejected Mr Chalerm’s invitation to join a meeting at the Royal Thai Police headquarters last Friday.

The deputy premier said that the meeting, to be held at Government House on September 18, would be chaired by the premier herself and attended by Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa and officials from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC).

He hoped that the Democrat Party would accept the latest invitation.

The 10 southern MPs of the Democrat Party on September 5 rejected Mr Chalerm’s invitation to attend a discussion to explore ways of coping with the insurgency in the far South.

Democrat Party deputy leader Thaworn Senneam has proposed the premier to chair the meeting, citing that Mr Chalerm did not have the power to make decisions.

Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit said today that he has not yet received an official invitation, but only knew from the media.

However, if the invitation is extended, he said he would lead the party’s southern provinces MPs to meet the premier PM at Government House.

He said it was understood that the southern problem was sensitive, so it was not taken to debate in Parliament.

Mr Abhisit said it was a good sign as the premier has agreed to attend the discussion herself.