In the live interview at military headquarters safe-house early this morning, Prime Minister Abhisit told TV 5 reporters that he is ready to talk with the red shirts leaders to resolve the conflicts and lead to the country’s stability. However, he is not sure whether the red shirt leaders are really ready to talk as former prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last night did not sound like he would…

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Abhisit ready to talk if Thaksin is

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should open his mind, dispense with preconditions and listen to the ‘Red Shirt’ United Front for
Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) demand for House dissolution then the UDD will be ready to talk with him, according to UDD core leader Jatuporn Prompan.

Mr Jatuporn was responding to Mr Abhisit’s remarks that his government stands ready to talk with the ‘Red Shirt’ UDD movement, but the anti-government
activists must comply with the law without blockading government offices and the homes of key persons and they must stop inciting violence.

Mr Jatuporn said there could be no talks as long as the government refuses to consider dissolving the House of Representatives and calling a general election.

“The premier should open his mind without any precondition, listen to our proposals but should not draw a line for the talks, otherwise the talks should not
happen,” he said.

Mr Jatuporn, who is also a member of Parliament from the opposition Puea Thai Party said that the UDD would talk only with Mr Abhisit not his representatives and he must come with the same level not higher status than the UDD members.

Private investment in Thailand has been subdued in the past three years due to uncertainty about the political situation.

In 2006-2008 investment grew by an average of 2.7 percent a year (compared with real GDP growth of 4.3 percent on average), down from 14.8 percent during 2003-2005. This earlier retrenchment of investment has dampened the impact of the financial crisis, most notably on foreign direct investment (FDI). While little new FDI is expected, there has been no rush to exit from foreign investors. Growth of private investment in 2008 came mainly from Thai investors, as gross FDI inflows declined from 2007 levels. Private investment is expected to contract 5 percent in 2009 as capacity utilization remains low (around 50 percent). However, growth could resume in the fourth quarter on the back of increased public investment. Public investment has been sluggish in Thailand since the 1998 crisis, but is expected to increase in 2009 given increased political stability and the political imperative to respond to the slowdown in the export sector. The share of public investment in real GDP averaged only 5.7 percent during 2004-2008 compared more than 10 percent before the 1998 crisis. In 2008, public investment contracted by nearly 5 percent as a result of political uncertainties, which delayed investment decisions. Public investment is projected to grow at 7 percent in 2009 as the implementation of large infrastructure projects step up.

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