Thai PM promises "road map" to end crisis

Thailand`s PM has played down the risk of more violence during anti-government protests.

Updated: May 03, 2010, 15:55 PM IST

Bangkok: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday played down the risk of more violence during anti-government protests, saying he would soon unveil a "road map" to end a two-month standoff that has killed 27 people.

Thousands of protesters who have paralysed Bangkok showed no sign of leaving the city`s main shopping district, a day after Abhisit warned of new "clashes and losses" if they remained.

Speaking in Parliament in Monday, Abhisit struck a more conciliatory tone, saying the government hoped to resolve the impasse through talks and that he would soon produce a plan to pull the country back from the brink of civil conflict.

"I will bring a proposal which could provide a political solution or a road map," he said. "But it has to be from the opinions of every side -- not just the government, politicians, protesters and counter-protesters. It has to be a real collective solution."

Abhisit is under intense pressure to end the two-month stalemate that has choked off tourism, shut major department stores and prompted the International Crisis Group to warn that Thailand could slide into an "undeclared civil war”.

The finance minister said last week the protests could cut growth by 2 percentage points if they continued all year.

Thailand`s financial markets, closed for a market holiday on Monday, have underperformed regional peers since April 10, when the protest turned deadly with a gunbattle in the heart of old Bangkok that killed 25 people and wounded more than 800.

Bureau Report