"People across the country are inciting violence and are on the verge of killing each other. The public should be thinking about holding sub-regional peace talks instead of pressuring those at the top to come up with answers," Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters on Friday.
"Red-shirts, yellow-shirts and other political groups need to come together and peacefully discuss the things that each of them thinks are wrong and illegitimate and then jointly find solutions to depolarise the country."
He made the comments after attending a Defence Council meeting and having lunch with caretaker prime minister and defence minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Asked whether he had given any advices to Ms Yingluck, he replied that it was not the army's duty to do so.
Anti-government protesters are pressing for the Feb 2 general election to be postponed until reforms take place.
Gen Prayuth did not address that issue directly but said that not every state agency or sector needed to be reformed in accordance with political movements. If everyone waited on top policymakers and administrators to act, then nothing would be done, he added.
Changes that can be made quickly should be implemented right away and those that require more time should be put on hold for later, he said.
He said the army's only involvement with the polls would be to deploy troops to help keep order outside buildings.
Touching on the proposal by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) for a "people's council", he suggested that for such system to work, its core members must not be part of the council.