Thai PM willing to meet Thaksin

Bangkok, October 31:

Thailand’s military-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont today said he was willing to hold talks with Thaksin Shinawatra if the exiled former premier wanted to arrange a formal meeting.

“If there were a formal arrangement to meet me, I am not a stubborn person. I am always open for talks, but so far there has been no such contact,” Surayud told reporters after returning from a regional summit in Nanning, China.

“I want to repeat that I am ready and open for discussions,” he said.

Thaksin was in New York for the UN General Assembly when the military toppled his government on September 19. Since then, he has been living in self-imposed exile in London. Surayud said Thaksin had only contacted him once to request permission to return home.

“He must be very prudent. I am convinced that he will not yet return at this time,” junta leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said earlier today. Boonyaratkalin also said the military leaders behind the takeover have no intention of retaining power or entering politics.

He was responding to concerns expressed by several political party leaders that some members of the military’s Council for National Security that is helping run the country may join a political grouping once a new general election is scheduled.

The coup leaders had said they would hold an election by October next year.