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Red-shirts accept brokered talks to end political crisis

05-18-2010 19:01 BJT

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A positive step has been taken to ending the conflict in Thailand. Anti-government protesters agreed to talks brokered by lawmakers to end the country's political crisis. A core leader of the red-shirt protestors says they accept the offer by the Senate to mediate peace talks with the government. He says the move is to avoid more loss of life.

Nattawut Saikua, UDD Leader, said, "The UDD accepts the offer by the Senate, led by senator Prasobsuk Boondej, to be a mediator. If he and the members agree and if they have suggestions on how to proceed with this negotiation, we urge them to go ahead, and we're ready to be part of this process from this very minute."

Despite the acceptance, there was still sporadic violence overnight, with smaller protests reported in other parts of the capital. Security forces arrested a 12-year-old boy for allegedly setting fire to several houses. In spite of tentative cease-fire talks, the government's chief negotiator says both sides remain far apart in their demands. Authorities warned protesters to leave their barricaded encampment by 3pm Monday, but the deadline passed without any movement.

Thailand's red-shirts core leader Nattawut Saikua (C) speaks to media in Bangkok, Thailand, May 18, 2010. Nattawut Saikua said Tuesday morning that he accepts an offer by the senate speaker to mediate peace talks between the anti-government protesters and the government. (Xinhua/Chen Duo) 
Thailand's red-shirts core leader Nattawut Saikua (C) speaks to media in 
Bangkok, Thailand, May 18, 2010. Nattawut Saikua said Tuesday morning that 
he accepts an offer by the senate speaker to mediate peace talks between 
the anti-government protesters and the government. (Xinhua/Chen Duo)

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