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Surapong asks businesses to pressure anti-govt protesters

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul yesterday urged the private sector to ask the anti-government protesters to end their rally.

If that was achieved, he would then work to restore foreign investors' confidence in Thailand, he said.

Seven private-sector organisations have offered to play a mediating role in the political conflict. On Monday they pressed for talks to find solutions to the political turmoil, which they said is beginning to damage the country's economic foundations. They also urged the government to lift the emergency decree.

Surapong said he was ready to support the proposal, but he was not sure if the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) would cooperate.

"If its leader Suthep [Thaugsuban] continues to stage rallies, I don't know how to convince the investors," the chief adviser to the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) said. He said if the violence decreased and the rerun election could be held smoothly, the government might lift some measures under the decree, as ordered by the Civil Court.

The CMPO yesterday resolved to ask the National Economic and Social Development Board to estimate economic and social losses caused by the PDRC rallies.

The information would be used for filing both civil and criminal lawsuits against the protesters.


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