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Ahead of Japan visit, Thai leader says dialogue can solve crippling unrest

JIJI

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in an interview with Japanese reporters in Bangkok on Saturday, again underscored her intention to engage in dialogue and put a stop to the massive anti-government demonstrations crippling her country.

Yingluck, who is slated to visit Japan in mid-December, said she believes that a peaceful approach is the way to resolve the situation and denied she would resort to the use of force.

Groups opposing her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have rejected dialogue with the government.

For her part, Yingluck says talks in any form are acceptable, while noting the desirability of having representatives from business and citizens’ groups, as well as academics, take part.

A solution acceptable to most people must be found or the unrest will be repeated endlessly, she warned.

Former Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, one of those leading the demonstrations, and others have proposed that a “people’s assembly” be set up to deal with the situation.

This, Yingluck counters, would be difficult to achieve under the current system. But she has also signaled her readiness to examine the proposal, saying that the government and anti-government groups would need to discuss the details of such an assembly.

She has also spurned calls for her to step down or dissolve the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the national assembly, for a snap election.

There are increasing concerns that the political tension will have a negative impact on the economy.

In a message to Japanese investors, Yingluck called for time to resolve the domestic conflict, saying Thailand will settle the situation through a peaceful approach.