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Thaksin urges Thai PM to pull back troops, restart talks

world Updated: May 14, 2010 21:05 IST

Thailand's fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra called on the government Friday to pull back troops and restart negotiations with his "Red Shirt" supporters after deadly clashes in Bangkok.

"The government's actions clearly constitute grave infringement of human rights and criminal offences for which the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and all concerned must be responsible," Thaksin said in a statement released by his legal adviser in Bangkok.

He urged Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to order troops back to their barracks, revoke the state of emergency in place in parts of the country and immediately reopen talks with protesters to reach a peaceful solution.

Thaksin called on Abhisit to "negotiate with all sides in the country to find an acceptable and genuine reconciliation plan to establish true democracy and justice in Thailand and move the country forward."

"I believe that (a) political solution still exists for Thailand and the prime minister is able to prevent more casualties and save our country," he said, after five people died and dozens were injured in clashes Friday.

"All this is dependent on his decision and he can choose between violent means and peaceful means, or between his position and the lives of innocent people," he added.

Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile, mainly in Dubai, to avoid a jail term for corruption. Many Red Shirts seek the return of the former premier.

Abhisit's government has accused Thaksin of inciting unrest in the capital from overseas.

Montenegro, which issued a passport to the ex-premier in March when he visited, said it had banned Thaksin from using the country for political activities.

"We warned Mr Shinawatra that, like any other citizen of Montenegro, he cannot abuse the territory of Montenegro for sending any kind of political messages to his followers or the followers of the current Thai authorities," Foreign Minister Milan Rocen told reporters in the former Yugoslav republic.

Thaksin's legal adviser, Noppadon Pattama, said the ex-premier was not currently in Montenegro but was believed to be in Saudi Arabia.