Thai PM emphasizes the need to implement the five-point reconciliation plan; Seven Red Shirt leaders surrender on May 19; Malaysia and Indonesia resolve to further strengthen bilateral relationship;
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  • Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva during his first televised address to the country after the April 19 turmoil on May 21 emphasized the need to implement the five-point roadmap of reconciliation.1 Fresh wave of violence broke out in Bangkok immediately after the surrender of 7 UDD leaders’ on May 19. UDD protesters set fire to a shopping mall and a number of government offices in the area.2

    Meanwhile, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra urged the UN to intervene in the ongoing crisis so that a sincere and genuine dialogue between the government and Red Shirts could be possible.3 He urged both the parties to refrain from indulging in further bloodshed and resolve their political disputes through talks.4 The Thai government on its part made it clear that any negotiations with the Red Shirts would be possible only if the latter stopped instigating violence and surrendered to the authorities.5

    Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met in Putrajaya in Malaysia and pledged to strengthen their security cooperation to deal with trans-border crimes and terrorism. The need to create new mechanisms to strengthen intelligence sharing, particularly in the financial sector, was stressed. They also renewed their commitment to resolve outstanding maritime border issues.6 Among the significant strategic goals included in the joint statement included the protection of rights of Malaysian employers and Indonesian domestic workers; increase in air connectivity; conclusion of a MoU on fisheries cooperation; the facilitation of cross border education; and renewal of the MoU on tourism cooperation.7

    Thailand and Malaysia concluded the ‘Seaex Thamal’ joint exercises designed to improve security patrols in their respective territorial waters. The exercise involved 263 personnel and eight vessels from the Royal Malaysian Navy, the Malaysian Marine Operations Force, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and the Thai Navy.8