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NEWS UPDATES 23 July 2010

Thai PM meet security chief

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Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called National Security chief Thawil Pliensri to meet him on Friday afternoon, probably to discuss lifting of the emergency decree as advised by the National Reform Committee chaired by Anand Panyarachun, a Government House source said.

The Anand committee issued a statement on Thursday after a meeting, advising the government to lift the emergency decree which is still in place in 16 provinces.

The statement said leaving the decree in force could jeopardise the government's reconciliation plan and does not comply with the democratic system. It added that the decree could be re-imposed, depending on situations.

Panithan Wattanayagorn, PM's deputy secretary-general and acting government spokesman, said that the Anand panel's advice was in line with the government's intention.

The government was ready to lift the decree in provinces where security agencies said they no longer needed the special law, he said.

Mr. Panithan said the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES) would advise the government to lift the state of emergency in provinces without the following factors: Illegal political assembly; use of media to distort facts and provoke violence; activities to create unrest; activities which could affect international relations; propagation of radical ideologies; inciting division among state officials; and intimation of the country's leadership. He said the CRES assesses the situation in each province where the decree is in force on a weekly basis and the NSC submits its report to cabinet for consideration.

The emergency decree could be lifted in provinces where these factors had eased, Mr. Panithan said.

The decree is still in place in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lamphu, Mukdahan, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, and Samut Prakan.

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