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Armed forces on defensive in mounting political crisis

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha admitted today that the country's armed forces could only take a defensive position in dealing with the present increasing political conflicts, bearing in mind their duty to protect the country, the people and the monarch.

He said the disputes have worsened with continuing violence since all factions refused to abide by the rule of law.

Violent incidents are inevitable and leaders of conflicting factions must take responsibility for the losses, adding that the military would do everything it could to resolve the problems.

"We are blamed when we can't do it," he deplored. "We can only be on the defensive for future incidents."

Referring to the alleged presence of foreign forces in Thailand, Gen Prayuth said intelligence reports did not find any grounds for the speculation, indicating that it would be unnecessary to deploy foreign forces for such attacks.

"You only need daring hooligans with a little training to create unrest. These people were involved in the 2010 political turmoil. They are hooligans. You'd better ask the police about this," he said.

He ruled out a proposal by the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to appoint him as defence minister and as neutral prime minister to end the political stalemate.

He said, "I don't want any position. I only wish safety for the nation, people and the monarch. I can trade anything for those.

"An official is not allowed to work with personal feeling, nor hate anyone. I don't want to solve one problem only to encounter another one, which is endless. I'm confident that good deeds will eventually prevail. It takes time."


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