BANGKOK (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters said on Tuesday they would accept talks brokered by the Senate to end Thailand’s deadliest political crisis in nearly two decades and halt spiraling violence that has killed 38 people since May 13.
A group of 64 senators came up with the mediation proposal, asking both sides to accept a ceasefire. The government’s response to the offer was not immediately known.
Troops have surrounded thousands of demonstrators in the fortified camp they have occupied since April 3 in central Bangkok. Pockets of violence have erupted in several other parts of the capital in recent days.
For the main story, click on [nSGE64H027]
Reactions from analysts are below.
KAVEE CHUKITKASEM, HEAD OF RESEARCH, KASIKORN SECURITIES
“I doubt the proposed talks will lead to an end to the political crisis. The government has told the red shirts to stop the protest first and then they can talk, while the red shirts asked the government to talk before they end the protests.
“It’s just a tactic to buy time and the rise in the stock market was just because of short-term speculation about talks. It was similar to the failed reconciliation plan.
“There aren’t many choices for the red shirt leaders now. The key issue is how they can stop the violence spreading in Bangkok and it’s by no means certain the red shirt leaders can control violence outside Rachaprasong.
“The only way out is for the protests to be stopped, either by the government’s security forces or by the red shirts themselves.
“The negative factors putting pressure on the Thai stock market are not just politics, but also the global economy and the slowdown in Thai economic growth.
“We expect Thai growth to slow from the second quarter, while company earnings have peaked in the first quarter and should drop in the second and third quarters.”
SOMJAI PHAGAPHASVIVAT, POLITICAL SCIENTIST AT THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY, BANGKOK.
“It’s just the beginning and it’s the kind of offer that doesn’t carry much weight since senators are not speaking with one voice. The equation is the same and the conditions on both sides are the same.
“The mediator gives hope that there may be a group that coordinates a process for each side to take one step back but if it were that easy, it would have been done long ago and it would not have come to this.
“The red shirts have latched on to the offer now to give themselves time and some strategic advantage, especially given the fear of the government moving in. Both sides are going on equally strong campaigns to get public sympathy, so any offer that may favor them, they will grab it. But there’s no indication it would be successful.”
BOONYAKIAT KARAVEKPHAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, RAMKHAMHAENG UNIVERSITY, BANGKOK “Both sides have come to a dead end and the only way to get out of this deadlock is to return to negotiations. The talks can only resume if both sides agree to take one step back and think about the national interest before saving their face.
“Troops must be withdrawn while protesters must return to the Rachaprasong area, without causing any more violence.
“The Senate-brokered proposal could be a credible start as this seems to be a neutral body that both sides could accept.”
Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong, Ambika Ahujua and Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Alan Raybould
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.