05/18/2010, 00.00
THAILAND
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"Red shirts" leader accepts Thai Senate offer of mediation

Growing pressure on anti-government protesters to end the protest. In five days of urban warfare in Bangkok 38 people have died at least 280 have been injured. A group of 64 senators will promote "further talks" between the government and the opposition. UN appeals for peace.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Leaders of the anti-government movement have accepted the offer of mediation made by Thai Senators, while the pressure is increasing on the "Red Shirts" to end their protest. In the five days of urban warfare 38 persons were killed in the streets of Bangkok, with at least 280 injured.

The offer of mediation was reached yesterday by the chairman, Prasobsuk Boondej. A group of 64 senators - about 150 in total - proposed a new series of talks and expressed their commitment to negotiate with the protesters, calling on the government and opponents to respect a ceasefire.

Nattawut Saiku, a leader of the "red shirts" - belonging to the opposition movement United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), close to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra - said they have "accepted a new series of talks" proposed by the Senate because "If we allow things to go on like this, we can not know how many more lives will be lost."

However, the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) have labelled the "red" Nattawut as a dangerous terrorist. It is unclear at present whether the government will take part in the talks.

Also yesterday, the political crisis in Thailand was discussed at the United Nations: the UN urges protestors to "step back" and calls on the army to exercise restraint towards their opponents.
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