Pheu Thai wants inclusive and independent reconciliation

Key members of the Pheu Thai Party arrive at the Defence Ministry for talks on reconciliation. At right is Pokin Polakul, centre Chusak Sirinil and left Phumtham Vejjayachai. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Executives of the country's biggest party Pheu Thai told the military on Wednesday that they want a reconciliation process and committee that are independent and inclusive.

They shared their views on national reconciliation in a meeting with a military sub-committee gathering opinions on reconciliation at the Defence Ministry. Gen Chaicharn Changmongkol, permanent secretary for defence, headed the sub-committee.

The party indicated through a letter that anyone given the responsibility for promoting reconciliation had to be knowledgeable, impartial and independent from any guidelines or orders.

It proposed the reconciliation committee be an independent body and represent all sectors including academics, the mass media and the civil sector. The committee would set a clear roadmap to reconciliation.

"Concluded steps to reconciliation must be a joint agreement, respect human dignity and international principles of justice and be free of authoritarian orders," it wrote.

Pheu Thai said conflicts had involved all parties, not just the two major ones -- itself and the Democrat Party.

To achieve reconciliation, all concerned parties must jointly accept the causes of conflicts, compensate affected parties fairly and forgive one another, it wrote.

It also called for reform of courts and independent organisations, saying they must be neutral.

After the meeting, key Pheu Thai member Pokin Polakul said the reconciliation process should involve not only conflicted political parties but also other parties in conflict such as the rich and the poor, and conflicting power groups such as political parties, the armed forces, the civil service sector and the general populace who want to exercise their power through elections.

"They must step forward simultaneously and forget about the bitter past for the sake of progress," he said.

Asked if the forgiveness his party mentioned referred to amnesty for wrongdoers, Mr Pokin said that amnesty was a detail and initially concerned parties should develop a common mindset.

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