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Prem denies he agreed to seek royal help

Chief of Man of the State group to go ahead with its proposal regardless

The Man of the State group will go ahead with its plan to seek help from His Majesty the King to bring the political crisis to an end, even though Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda has "hesitated" in supporting the group, the group's leader General Saiyud Kerdphol said yesterday.

The retired supreme commander said he did not know why Prem changed his mind after telling him he had accepted the group's proposal to appeal to His Majesty to issue a royal command to solve the crisis.

However, Prem's close aide Lt-General Pitsanu Phutthawong, chief of the Office of the General Prem Tinsulanonda Statesman Foundation, insisted Prem had only acknowledged the proposal but had not accepted it.

Yet Saiyud reiterated that his statement about Prem accepting the proposal on Saturday was the truth, adding that he had discussed the issue with the elder statesman on Friday for about an hour.

He added that after the discussion, he had told Prem he would tell the press about his plan, and Prem had said nothing to stop him telling the media.

Saiyud said Prem's aide on Sunday called him saying he had misunderstood the Privy Council president's intention.

Later, in a phone call, Saiyud was told that he had misunderstood Prem and that he had not agreed to the proposal.

"Prem called asking to meet me, but then later he had his aide call me. I think I deserve some respect. I got to meet him without making an effort. It was Prem who invited me," Saiyud said.

He said he met Prem at around noon after Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced that he was ready to help end the political deadlock and avoid further violence by holding talks with some prominent figures and parties to seek a solution for the country.

Saiyud said he told Prem he did not think Abhisit would be able to achieve his objectives because the country was in a crisis.

"To solve the problems, we have to resort to royal power."

He added that his group would go ahead with drafting a plea to the King to help defuse conflicts facing the country.

The group consists mainly of retired high-ranking military commanders, government officials and academics.

Saiyud also said his proposal was within the frame of law and had nothing to do with the Constitution's Article 7 or an attempt to seek a royally appointed prime minister.

When asked for a response to Saiyud's complaint that he did not get the respect he deserved from Prem, Pitsanu said it was a misunderstanding and that the elder statesman would not seek to meet the group again to discuss this proposal.


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