PM Abhisit answers media questions on 26 March 2010
On Friday 26 March 2010 at 1415 hrs, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva answered questions from the press. Gist as follows:
In answer to a question on the Prime Minister’s travel schedule, Prime Minister Abhisit stated that at this moment his scheduled official visits to Brunei Darussalam (29 March 2010) and to Bahrain (30-31 March 2010) are still on. The decision to travel to these important countries would have to be based on the appropriate timing and assessment of current situation. The planned visit Brunei had earlier been postponed many times, and with Bahrain, discussions on bilateral economic cooperation and support of Thailand in the OIC would also be held during the visit. At this stage, these trips are still on.
The Prime Minister also said that Thailand will be hosting the First Mekong Regional Cooperation (MRC) Summit in Hua Hin and the 122nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Bangkok, the latter of which will be hosted by the Parliament. The press asked about the necessity to enact the Internal Security Act in Hua Hin for the MRC meeting, to which the Prime Minister replied that its necessity, as well as the area or districts (Amphurs) to be covered, would be considered. The authorities involved are discussing security arrangements for the IPU meeting. Many countries have confirmed their participation in the IPU meeting, which reflects the confidence that they have in Thailand.
In reply to a question on the red shirt demonstrations, the Prime Minister said he was concerned with the difficulties faced by the general public. The movements of the demonstrators are unpredictable, so the Government has asked for their cooperation in providing this information, in order that the Government can advise the public to prepare for traffic and other situations. The Government is not on the defense, but is instead working gradually to move various issues forward. In general, the situation is still proceeding smoothly, although there are still certain incidents and sensitivity. The Prime Minister said that he is aware of the difficulties faced by the people, and that the ultimate aim is for peace. Still, there are certain people who try to take the opportunity to create a situation. Therefore, vigilance is needed.
The Prime Minister said that it is difficult to determine what is actually the demand of the demonstrators, whether it is to dissolve Parliament or to demand something for one particular person. The Government’s stand is certain, that there needs to be dialogue before dissolution, so the path forward will be clear. The problems will not end merely by dissolving Parliament, and it must be decided what to do next after dissolution, if that in fact happens. Many groups are offering to act as mediator in this sensitive issue, which needs time. The military and police are responsible for the security of the country, and the Prime Minister stressed that they are still performing their duties within the bound of their mandate under the Constitution. They are facilitating the executive branch and helping the Government proceed with work as in normal circumstances.
The Prime Minister said that last week Government work carried on substantially in a number of areas, including within the legislative branch. The Prime Minister also met with economic agencies earlier today (26 March), which reported to him that tourism had been somewhat affected by the situation. The Prime Minister reassured that the foundations of the country have not been affected by the current challenges.
(updated from the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand on 27 March 2010 by Songchai Chaipatiyut)