Thai PM says to gradually lift state of emergency

18:27, July 23, 2010      

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Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday he has planned to gradually lift the state of emergency, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

The prime minister can lift the state of emergency without a cabinet meeting's approval, the TNA report said.

His remark was made after the National Reform Committee (NRC), chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun, on Thursday issued a statement following an NRC meeting, advising the government to lift the emergency decree.

The NRC statement said leaving the decree in force could jeopardize the government's national reconciliation plan and does not comply with the democratic system.

Earlier on Thursday, the Bangkok Post's website quoted Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the spokesman of the Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES), as saying the premier is the person to decide whether to follow the NRC recommendation regarding the state of emergency.

Col. Sansern said the prime minister's decision would be based on opinions from the CRES, other security agencies, and many committees he has set up to work toward national reconciliation.

The matter should not be taken as a conflict since opinions from all concerned are aimed to bring the country back to normalcy, Col. Sansern said.

Maj-General Dithaporn Sasasamit, spokesman of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), meanwhile said whether to lift the emergency decree depends on the situation, readiness, and ability of concerned authorities to cope with any untoward incident that might arise.

The Anand panel's advice would certainly be taken for consideration, Col. Sansern said.

The enforcement of the state of emergency has remained in Thailand's capital Bangkok and 15 other provinces, or totaling 16 provinces.

The emergency decree was originally imposed in 24 provinces of Thailand's 76 provinces, including Bangkok, on April 7, 2010, empowering police and army to control the then anti-government protests.

After the weekly cabinet meeting on July 6 decided to lift the emergency decree in five provinces, the cabinet resolved on Tuesday (July 20) to lift it in three more provinces.

Source: Xinhua


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