Prem passive over 'mediator' call

Privy Councillors met Tuesday under their president Prem Tinsulanonda but did not discuss politics despite recent calls by "old soldiers" for Gen Prem to act on the political crisis.

A source close to the Privy Council said 18 members attended the meeting at Saranrom Palace. They discussed and followed up on progress of royal projects under the instructions of His Majesty the King, and petitions sought for the king's deliberation.

Gen Prem, according to the source, made no mention of call for him to act as a middle man to work under the king to try to find ways out of the political turmoil. He also did not discuss his audience with the king on April 16, the source said.

According to the source, it was a routine meeting. Privy councilors "had never discussed political problems at their meetings" since conflict flared up last year, because the issue was beyond their duties.

"No one [on the Privy Council] dares to propose a solution to the political problem," said the source, "because it's not their duty, and they could face criticism, given how divided Thais are. So the Privy Council just performs its duty."

A coup rumour began last week after His Majesty the King granted audiences on April 16 to Gen Prem, ex-defence minister Prawit Wongsuwon and former army chief Anupong Paojinda.

According to an army source, Gen Prawit and Gen Anupong joined a delegation to present a Buddha image to His Majesty, and Gen Prem held a separate meeting with the king to present reports.

The coup rumours were simply fears by the trio's critics that a plot might be in the making, the source said.

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