ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PM Yingluck rejects face-to-face talks with protest leader Suthep
CHIANG MAI, Feb 27 - Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today declined her political opponent Suthep Thaugsuban's challenge to a verbal duel on resolving Thailand's political conflict.
Mr Suthep, secretary general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said he was ready for a dialogue with Ms Yingluck, or even ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, anytime and anywhere in Bangkok on the condition that it must be a one-on-one negotiation and broadcast live to the public.
Ms Yingluck said she agreed to a negotiation under the constitutional framework on the condition that Mr Suthep must end the rallies to pave the way for elections, and the issues for the talks must be clearly defined.
"If the dialogue is held beyond the constitutional framework, knowledgeable people from different fields must participate and make joint decisions. I myself cannot decide on behalf of people in the entire nation," she said.
"If we share a similar framework, negotiation is possible, otherwise it's difficult to talk. I myself agree with negotiations for peace but I need someone to help look at other problem-solving perspectives. We should not close the framework for negotiations."
Asked if the negotiation should be broadcast live, Ms Yingluck said she alone could not answer the question and opinions from several people would be more beneficial as there would be knowledgeable people to jointly find resolutions.
She added, "There should be a framework at a certain stage to know who will do what. If we don't have a framework, the dialogue will be endless. A framework will lead us to the goal. It's useless if we keep on talking in parallel.
"Upholding democracy doesn't mean the other side will be the loser or the winner. We have to cherish the nation without obstinacy. I want the nation and the people to win."
She said the government welcomed advice from the United Nations which is experienced in resolving national conflicts but people in the country would have to eventually find their own solutions.
Mr Suthep said he would represent demonstrators in negotiating with Ms Yingluck which must be held face-to-face and broadcast on every TV channel.
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