BANGKOK — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and leaders of anti-government protests failed to reach an agreement Sunday in nationally televised talks on how to solve the country’s political crisis and said they would try again the next day.
The talks marked a civilized pause after weeks of demonstrations and fiery rhetoric that prompted Abhisit to seek refuge at an army base.
The two sides sat across a conference table from each other and shook hands. With strained smiles, they reiterated their sharply different stances and adjourned three hours later no closer to a resolution. They agreed to meet again Monday evening.
“Our request is simple and direct: Dissolve Parliament for the people to decide again,” said Veera Muksikapong, a protest leader. He was joined by two other leaders, all dressed in their signature red shirts.
A tense-looking Abhisit – accompanied by two advisers, all wearing blue dress shirts – reiterated his position that dissolving Parliament immediately would not solve Thailand’s deep political crisis.
“I have to make a decision based on a consensus from the entire country, including the Red Shirts,” Abhisit said. “We have to think: Will dissolution really solve the problem?”
“The wound in this country cannot be healed by dissolving Parliament,” Abhisit added.