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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Thai PM to give TV talk on south
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (file photo)
Tough laws are "necessary evils": Thaksin Shinawatra
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to appear on state-run television to give his views on how to end the insurgency in the south of the country.

He will be interviewed with the head of the National Reconciliation Commission, Anand Panyarachun, about the violence that has killed more than 800 people.

Mr Anand has already criticised as heavy-handed the prime minister's tough new laws for the south.

At least nine people have died in attacks over the last 48 hours.

They include a former policeman, a civil servant and a village leader.

Situation 'stabilised'

The Thai authorities blame the violence, which flared up early last year, on a mix of Muslim militants and criminal gangs.

Shootings and bomb attacks have become a daily occurrence in the majority Muslim south.

Mr Thaksin was granted an emergency decree last week that will allow him to order the detention of suspects for seven days, censor newspapers and tap phones.

The National Reconciliation Commission- tasked with formulating a peace plan for the region - favoured a softer approach, but Mr Thaksin said the tough new powers were "necessary evils" to tackle the unrest.

Despite this, Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon sought to play down the problems at a meeting of South-East Asian nations (Asean) in Laos.

He said the situation had "stabilised" and reportedly described the violence as being comparable to crime in New York City.

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