There were wais all around after a second session but the truth is that the talks have stalemated – and the government expects more bomb attacks because of it.
Bangkok should brace for more bomb attacks after talks between the government and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship ended in a stalemate and the red shirts vowed to continue their rallies, warns the government’s peace-keeping command.
The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), which closely monitored the second round of negotiations yesterday, said it expected more violence, especially bombings, in Bangkok to maintain pressure on the government.
A CAPO source said a meeting that followed the negotiations discussed the political impasse, the failure to agree on future talks and the continuation of the rallies.
The meeting felt the main targets for bomb attacks and other violence would be government offices, the source said.
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CAPO spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the situation was regarded as serious enough to order police and military officers in and out of uniform who are guarding potential targets like offices and important persons to carry weapons.
Col Sansern said police and soldiers deployed in areas near the protest site at Phan Fa Bridge would remain unarmed.
Veera Musikhapong, Weng Tojirakarn and Jatuporn Prompan returned to the negotiating table yesterday with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, his secretary Korbsak Sabhavasu and Chamni Sakdiset. It ended in a deadlock like Sunday night’s talks.
The UDD remained firm in its demand for a dissolution of the House within 15 days, while the prime minister was adamant it was out of the question and could not put a permanent end to the political divisions.
Mr Abhisit proposed disbanding the House within nine months, citing the need for budget planning and disbursement, a public referendum on constitutional amendments and a calmer atmosphere ahead of a new poll. The red shirt leaders felt that was too long to wait.
“If you reaffirm your demand I have no choice but to say it is impossible,” Mr Abhisit said. “I don’t reject a House dissolution but not today or in the next 15 days because I do not consider that it is a solution.
Had the UDD agreed to the prime minister’s offer, the cabinet would consider the issue of a public referendum to clear the way for charter amendments and new elections in its meeting today, a cabinet source said.
A timeline prepared by the government for the three red shirt leaders would see an executive decree on a House dissolution issued on Nov 21 and an election organised by Jan 20.
There are conflicting signals from the UDD camp on whether it still wants to continue talks with the government, which also offered informal meetings while Mr Abhisit is visiting Bahrain today and tomorrow.
Mr Veera indicated he did not want yesterday’s talks to be the last, but Mr Jatuporn remained inflexible, saying the divisions between the two sides were so wide there was no chance of further talks.
Another UDD leader, Natthawut Saikua, announced the end of the negotiations to supporters at Phan Fa Bridge. “Two rounds of talks are more than enough. If the government stands firm on refusing to accept our proposal, then there is no need for more talks,” he said.
The UDD will continue to reinforce its campaign using peaceful means to press for the end of the government, he said.
Ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra showed no surprise at the collapse of the talks yesterday.
“Today’s talks show that the country is at a dead end. There’s no exit,” he said from an undisclosed location.
Mr Abhisit, who will return to Bangkok tomorrow, went to the meeting with an agreement from his coalition partners that the constitution would be amended before the House is dissolved.
News item courtesy of www.bangkokpost.com