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Thai PM Says Negotiations Will End Crisis


Thailand's prime minister Somchai Wongsawat says security forces will use peaceful means to end the crisis after thousands of protesters occupied two major airports.

Mr. Somchai said in a televised address Friday that authorities will use negotiations and other means appropriate to the situation. He made no mention of the police chief, General Pacharawat Wongsawat, who was removed to an inactive post.

Riot police gathered outside Bangkok's international Suvarnabhumi airport Friday, but took no action against the protesters led by the People's Alliance for Democracy.

The United States Friday urged the group to walk away from Bangkok airports peacefully.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department expressed concern that the seizure of the airports prevents the free movement of people and goods.

Meanwhile governments worldwide are making flight arrangements to bring home their citizens, stranded in Thailand. Some of them will be flown from Thai military airports.

The siege of Bangkok's airports has stranded thousands of travelers. Protesters have insisted they will not leave until the prime minister resigns.

Mr. Somchai declared a state of emergency around the two Bangkok airports Thursday, a move that allows him to use security forces to clear the protesters.

The current political crisis began after the 2006 coup that removed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- Mr. Somchai's brother-in-law.

Protesters accuse Mr. Somchai of being a proxy for Mr. Thaksin.

A representative of Human Rights Watch, Sunai Pasuk, has urged authorities and protest leaders to "take incremental steps" in order to avoid a massacre at either of the Bangkok airports. He said the fact the protesters have children with them is an additional cause for concern.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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