Jatuporn ready for Suthep talks

Red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said on Tuesday he was prepared to talk with political opponent Suthep Thaugsuban if army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha agreed to mediate the meeting.

Mr Jatuporn, chairman of the red shirts' umbrella group, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, told supporters at the Uttayarn Road rally in western Bangkok that he “had no problem” with talking with Mr Suthep, but any such meeting must be based on democractic principles.

Mr Suthep is founder and leader of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which has been rallying on Bangkok streets since November in an attempt to overthrow the government.

“I and my group have no personal conflict with Suthep Thaugsuban, PDRC secretary-general, or any individual in the amaart (elite) network," said Mr Jatuporn.

“All the problems are not about personal matters, it’s about differing ideologies and democratic idealism.” 

Gen Prayuth told reporters after meeting with heads of government agencies on Tuesday afternoon that he would find ways to get representatives from all groups in the political divide to meet and talk, in an effort to bring the country out of the crisis.

Mr Jatuporn insisted that a general election remains the only acceptable solution that will end the political conflict and satisfy everyone.   

He proposed a referendum to allow the public to decide whether they wanted reform before or after an election. 

“Suthep is not ready for the poll because he knows his side will somehow lose if it occurs,” the UDD leader told cheering red shirts at the rally.

Meanwhile, Mr Suthep praised Gen prayuth’s decision to impose martial law and asked supporters to give moral support to the military while addressing the crowd at the rally stage on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Tuesday night. 

However, he insisted the PDRC will stick to its protest schedule, saying that demonstrators will on Friday march from Ratchadamnoen Avenue to Sukhumvit Road between 5pm and 9pm and also on Saturday and Sunday to undisclosed locations.

Mr Suthep said the PDRC would declare "the people's victory" on Monday.

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