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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 12:58 UK

Thai red-shirt peace talks reach stalemate

By Rachel Harvey
BBC South East Asia correspondent, Bangkok

Representatives from both sides at the talks in Bangkok on 29 March 2010
The two sides cannot agree on when fresh elections should be held

Anti-government protesters in Thailand have refused to take part in further talks with the prime minister unless he changes his position on elections.

The protesters, known as the red-shirts, have staged a series of mass rallies in the capital, Bangkok, calling for parliament to be dissolved.

The two sides have held two rounds of discussions but are no nearer an agreement.

The prime minister said his offer of talks still stood.

After 17 days of protest and almost five hours of face to face talks, there is still no resolution in sight.

Anti-government activists are insisting that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament within 15 days.

Mr Abhisit has offered to comply within nine months and says he is willing to have another round of talks to try to reach an agreement.

But the red-shirts accuse the prime minister of insincerity and say there is no point in further discussion unless he agrees to shift his time frame.

One of the protest leaders contacted by the BBC said the door to negotiations was not closed, but it depended on the government's next move.

Dr Weng Tojirakarn said that all red-shirt leaders agreed on the deadline of 15 days for parliament to be dissolved. However there are meetings now going on to decide on the next steps.

"We are planning to talk to academics for suggestions. The situation is changing by the hour. We can't say that the door to negotiations is closed, but it depends on how the government reacts," he told the BBC.

The government's immediate response has been to extend special security legislation for another week.



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