PATTANI, March 2 (Bernama) — The second round of the Southern Thailand peace talks will go on as scheduled this week despite the change of government in Malaysia.
A Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) source said the meeting, to be held on March 4, will see Malaysia’s former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Mohd Noor facilitating the negotiations between the government of Thailand – headed by Gen Wanlop Rungsanaoh – and the BRN.
“Now, everyone is in Kuala Lumpur and is preparing for negotiations this time around,” the BRN source told Bernama when contacted.
On Jan 20, an official meeting between the BRN – led by Anas Abdulrahman – and the Thai government saw both sides agreeing that negotiations are the best way to resolve Southern Thailand’s armed conflicts, bringing new hope to ending the violence in the South’s restive Muslim-majority provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla.
In the previous years, the peace talks took place between the Thai government and MARA Pattani, a body comprising various groups of people from the Thai deep south. At that time, BRN was only represented by its political wing.
However, Wanlop’s appointment as chief negotiator last October signalled for the BRN to play a major role in the peace talks to find the best way to end the conflict in the four territories.
THAILAND-PEACE 2 (LAST) PATTANI
It is understood that the meeting will see both sides proposing long-term recommendations for peace in southern Thailand.
Meanwhile, the 5th edition of the Peace Survey found that based on a study of 1,637 residents in Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla, only 38.7 per cent agreed that peace negotiations were the best way to resolve Thailand’s deep south conflicts.
“The survey also found that 59.4 per cent of respondents were of the view that peace negotiations could not end terrorism, and 57.1 per cent felt that the situation would worsen,” the study said.
The uprising in southern Thailand that began in 2004 in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkla has killed 7,000 lives.
Source : BERNAMA