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Army commander's powers to rise: Thai Deputy PM
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-09-08 17:25
Thailand's caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya Friday assured that the executive power of Army commander-in-chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin will be increased to better deal with the unrest in the far South and no talks will be held between the government and the southern insurgents.

The National Security Council is currently drafting measures under which the Army chief will play an increased role in handling unrest in Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani, the three southernmost provinces plagued by violence, while intelligence gathering will be enhanced, collecting more information and tips on a daily basis, said Chidchai, who is concurrently justice minister.

Chidchai confirmed he had knowledge of the leading personalities in the Southern insurgency and its political implications. However, the deputy prime minister declined to go into detail.

Meanwhile, he dismissed speculation that the authorities would hold dialogue with the insurgents. He said the media may have misinterpreted the Army chief's earlier comments and jumped to the wrong conclusion that the government might come to terms with those who have taken up arms against the government.

The deputy prime minister sidestepped questions as to whether or not the Fourth Army Region commander might be transferred, should the situation worsen in foreseeable future or whether or not another round of violence might occur on Sept. 16, the anniversary of the founding of the Pattani sultanate.

Nonetheless, the government policy for the South will remain unchanged, though action plans and tactics may vary from time to time, according to the deputy prime minister.

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