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Mr. Thaksin’s adviser, Noppadon Pattama, meanwhile, proposed “peace talks” with the government, but the government is in no mood to negotiate.

“I think he lost his mind,” said Mr. Kiat of Mr. Noppadon’s proposal. “Peace talks only apply when there is a conflict between two countries. All the issues we raise are of the concern of the people, not of a particular person, and not even for the government.”

Mr. Kiat said the Thai government was ready to talk about other issues that might be relevant to the reconciliation process, but at this point no party had suggested anything new.

On the question of a review of the constitution, Mr. Kiat said this was important because “we don’t want to run into another election just to find out that after the election some party will say they disagree with certain articles of the constitution.”

Following the crackdown on protesters, the Thai government extended a period of emergency across the country. Mr. Kiat said it was up to authorities in the various provinces to determine when the time is right to lift the emergency. “They have to have confidence that they can keep the situation under control and that all the people under arrest warrants have been arrested,” he said.

The prime minister has asked Kanit Nanakorn, a former attorney general, to lead an independent inquiry into the clashes between armed troops and demonstrators. Critics say Mr. Kanit’s proximity to the government will undermine the credibility of the investigation. But Mr. Kiat said Mr. Kanit is “known for his impartiality and fairness” and added that the government would welcome the investigating panel members who are sympathetic to the Red Shirts.

Mr. Kiat said the government would also take responsibility if the conduct of military, police and government is found to be in violation of the law.

Another objective of Mr. Kiat’s visit to the U.S. was to correct “misperceptions” created by “inaccurate reporting” of events in Thailand over the past few months. He was satisfied that the Obama administration now has a better understanding of the situation in Thailand.

Scot Marciel, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told U.S. lawmakers last week that the U.S. “can be a source of support as the Thais work to resolve the issues that still divide them, but it is the Thai people themselves who must make the difficult choices on how to proceed.”