Prem doubts proposed mediator role

Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda on Thursday said caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban may not listen to him if he were to act as a go-between in trying to mediate talks between them.

Gen Prem’s remark came after reporters asked him to comment on a proposal that the 94-year-old statesman and former prime minister act as a mediator and invite Ms Yingluck and Mr Suthep to resolve their conflict through talks.

Gen Prem said he had never heard anyone suggest they wanted him to be mediator before, and he just learned about it from the press.

"Who wants me to be a middle man?" he asked.

Asked if he could be a mediator acceptable to both Ms Yingluck and Mr Suthep, Gen Prem replied: "Do you think they will listen to me? I am also [verbally] attacked."

Gen Prem declined to comment on whether he may be named as a potential candidate for the post of neutral prime minister.

The privy council president was answering questions after presiding over the opening of the 21st "San Jai Thai Su Jai Tai" (Uniting Thai Hearts for the South) project for youth in the lower South at the Army Club in Thewes.

It was attended by leaders of the military and the police forces, Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanont and 240 juveniles from southern provinces.

"All of us are Thai people and we are all the owners of the country. It is our duty to look after the country, not create problems, to be a good person and create good people until the country is crowded with them.

"I want us to value our country highly," Gen Prem said in his opening speech.

Gen Prem will open his Si Sao Thewes residence for a traditional Songkran rod nam dam hua blessing on Friday, March 11. Military top brass led by Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimakorn will offer Gen Prem blessings.

Ms Yingluck will spend Songkran holiday in Chiang Mai, her birthplace, and has yet to contact Gen Prem’s office to offer him her best wishes for the traditional Thai new year, according to a source close to Gen Prem. She might pay a personal visit later, the source added.

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