No talks with Thaksin

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THAI Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday ruled out holding any talks with exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra after clashes between troops and anti-government protesters last week.

His government had earlier this month raised the possibility of negotiations with the fugitive ex-premier, who was toppled in a military coup in 2006 that triggered three years of political unrest.

But on Tuesday it issued a warrant for Thaksin’s arrest accusing him of inciting violence, following the storming of an Asian summit by his supporters and subsequent riots in Bangkok which left two people dead.

Thaksin is living in exile, mainly in Dubai, to avoid a jail sentence for corruption. The government cancelled his passport earlier this week but it emerged that Nicaragua had granted him another travel document.

‘I have no idea what we would talk about. The government will only talk with people who abide by the law and will not talk with people who use violence or incite violence,’ Mr Abhisit told reporters when asked about talks with Thaksin.

He said any future amnesty under efforts to forge national reconciliation would only apply to political offences and not criminal violations.

Mr Abhisit said on Sunday that the government would over the next two weeks look at possible changes to the law or to a constitution adopted in 2007 under the junta that ousted Thaksin – key demands of Thaksin’s supporters.

The protesters, known as ‘Red Shirts’ because of their colourful attire, demanded Mr Abhisit’s resignation and new elections. — AFP

STRAITS TIMES, April 20, 2009

(photo: REUTERS & AP)

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