Thai PM says seeking political solution to crisis
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said his government is striving to find a "political resolution" to the country's crippling crisis, but he warned that it will take time.
"We recognise that as every day passes by, the people of Thailand suffer, the country suffers, but we want to make sure that there is rule of law," Abhisit said in an interview with CNN set to air Tuesday.
"We will try to enforce the law with minimum losses and we will try to find a political resolution, but it takes time, patience and cooperation," he said, according to excerpts of the interview posted on the CNN website.
"We will do the best we can and try to move the country forward as soon as possible," added Abhisit, who has been based at a military barracks since the anti-government "Red Shirts" began mass rallies in mid-March.
Street clashes earlier this month and grenade attacks last week in the heart of Bangkok have left 26 people dead and hundreds more wounded in the country's worst political unrest for almost two decades.
The Red Shirts - who are campaigning for immediate elections - have reinforced their roadblocks and fortified their sprawling protest site with barricades made from truck tyres and bamboo stakes.
Abhisit has rejected an offer by the Reds, who mostly support former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, to disperse if elections are held in three months' time.
He has vowed to regain control of the protest site, without giving any indication of when a crackdown might come. When troops tried to sweep the Reds out of Bangkok's historic area on April 10 they suffered a humiliating retreat.