04/16/2009, 00.00
THAILAND
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Apparent calm in Bangkok as Abhisit goes back to Government House

Thailand’s prime minister meets foreign diplomats to brief them on the country’s situation following weeks of unrest. Court issues arrest warrants for leaders of pro-Thaksin ‘red-shirted’ supporters. Thai ex-prime minister gets a Nicaraguan diplomatic passport after Thai authorities revoke his Thai papers.
Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is back in his office at Government House as an apparent calm descended upon the country. This comes after weeks of unrest by pro-Thaksin “red-shirted” militants which caused the cancellation of the ASEAN Plus summit in Pattaya last week-end and created havoc in Bangkok streets.

At Government House Prime Minister Abhisit met foreign diplomats and briefed them about the recent unrest which caused the death of two people, and injuries to another 123.

Police in fact opened an investigation into the death of two men, found gagged and bound, along the banks of Bangkok’s main river.

The area had been the scene of anti-government protests by supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who is now in exile.

Until now, deaths among ‘red-shirted’ protesters had been reported.

Police also obtained court orders to arrest 36 red-shirt leaders and other supporters; among them 12 who are accused of attacking the prime minister’s motorcade last week after a cabinet meeting in Pattaya; 14 accused of causing the cancellation of the ASEAN summit, including former Thai Rak Thai MP Arisman Pongruangrong; and 10 for allegedly attacking Mr Abhisit's car and that of his secretary-general, Nibhon Phromphan, at the Interior Ministry on Sunday.

In the meantime the Nicaraguan government announced that it had issued former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra a diplomatic passport.

Mr Thaksin, who is in self-imposed exile in Dubai after being accused of corruption and abuse of power, had his Thai papers revoked just yesterday by Thai authorities who blame him for the recent unrest and the cancellation of the ASEAN summit.

Thaksin’s Nicaraguan passport was issued in January when the ousted leader visited Nicaragua, and was given to him in February when he met Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. At that time he was also made a ‘special ambassador’ for the Central American country.

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