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Reds to return, northern border quiet

Posted by arnon_k On November - 12 - 2010

Security and intelligence agencies have been instructed by Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) director and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to keep a close watch on activities of the red-shirts on Nov 13, 14 and 19, CRES deputy spokesman Songpol Wattanachai said on Friday.

The CRES understands the red-shirts of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) plan to rally in Bangkok on these three days.

Nov 13 marks six months since rogue soldier Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, also known as Seh Daeng, was shot by a sniper near Lumpini park on May 13, and Nov 19 six months since the May 19 military crackdown that cleared the red-shirts from Ratchaprasong intersection.

The cremation of former prime minister Samak Sundaravej is scheduled for Nov 14. Police expect some red-shirts to turn up at the ceremony.

Pol Col Songpol said about 500 police would be deployed to ensure law and order. Although there were no reports of possible violence, authorities were required to be watchful, he added.

He said the CRES had been in touch with the organisers of these activities and advised them to stay lawful and not to prolong their rallies.

Supreme Commander Songkitti Jaggabatara said CRES will decide the appropriate time to lift the emergency decree from Bangkok and adjacent provinces.

“The situation right now is normal, but to revoke the emergency decree potentially dangerous incidents must first be dealt with and state agencies must be able to work normally,” Gen Songkitti said.

“The CRES is the centre that coordinates with different ministries and departments and will determine when the emergency decree should be lifted.”

When reporters asked about Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban’s return as deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs, the supreme commander said the army and the Defence Ministry had no problems with Mr Suthep.

On Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart’s plan to meet with army officials to discuss his plan to bring about national reconciliation, he said the army had no enemies but the army also supported Maj-Gen Sanan’s peace mission.

As for the unrest near the Thai-Burmese border, Gen Songkitti said the situation along the border with Burma has generally improved and the Burmese military has agreed to be more careful and not fire stray shots into Thailand.

Gen Songkitti said there were still sporadic clashes opposite the Three Pagodas Pass in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district.

Burma was in the process of restoring internal order and Thailand would not infringe on its sovereignty, he said.

“We have been in contact with the Burmese military at every level. The military attaches of the two countries have been working together.

“Burma has accepted our request to be careful in using its weapons.

“In the past clashes, we did not know which side the shells landing in Thailand came from,” Gen Songkitti said, referring to clashes between Burmese government troops and rebels of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

He said the situation in Burma would eventually return to normal, sooner or later.

Tak governor Samart Loyfa said the situation along the border opposite Mae Sot and Phop Phra district was quiet, pending negotiations between Burmese government forces and DKBA rebels, probably next week.

The junta was trying to persuade the Karen rebels to integrate with the Border Guard Force (BGF).

Mr Samart said provincial authorities had prepared in advance to take in war refugees. There was always fighting opposite Phop Phra district during the dry season.

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