Thai PM says would quit if national stability at stake

27th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Thailand's embattled prime minister said he would step down if he believed he were an obstacle to his country's stability, in a BBC interview released Tuesday.

But Abhisit Vejjajiva said the country's problems were not purely political and involved security and what he called "terrorist" problems, saying Thailand needs more than a short-term solution.

He also said there were no plans to impose martial law to clamp down on weeks of protests to campaign for immediate elections, according to excerpts of the interview released by the BBC before broadcast.

Asked if he would step down if he believed he were an obstacle to Thailand's recovery and stability, Abhisit replied: "Of course. I've never put my interests above the country's."

But he said: "We are in agreement at the moment that the problems we are seeing is not a purely political problem. There are security problems involved, there are terrorist problems involved.

"We need to tackle all those issues at the same time. When we talk about the stability everyone wants to achieve, not a short-term stability waiting for the problem, the same problem to be repeated again and again," he added.

His comments came as Thailand's anti-government Red Shirts continued protests in a bid to thwart a feared military crackdown as the government talked tough against the protesters.

Abhisit, regarded as elitist and undemocratic by his opponents, said he had no power to declare martial law.

"Martial law would be declared by the armed forces, it's not within my power to do so. At the moment they have no intention of doing so," he said.

"Well from my discussion with the people responsible and the people who have powers, they have no intention of declaring martial law at the moment," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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