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PM Say’s Government has Agreed to Talks, Not Negotiations with Deep South Rebel Groups

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (left) speaks at a joint press conference with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at his office in Putrajaya

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (left) speaks at a joint press conference with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at his office in Putrajaya

 

BANGKOK – The Prime Minister has stated that an upcoming meeting between representatives from the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group will only involve talks, and not negotiations

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Thursday that the upcoming meeting between Thai government representatives the BRN, a Pattani independence movement group, will only focus on discussion of related issues while no negotiations will take place.

Army Commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha

Army Commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha

The PM’s assertion was heard during her meeting with ministers involved in the southern unrest and security-related agencies, such as the National Security Council, as well as Army Commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Thursday meeting was called for in order to allow all to look at the details of earlier talks between the NSC and the working committee in charge of the framework of planned negotiations with the BRN.

The government representatives are scheduled to meet with the independence movement group on March 28, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Prime Minister stated that the scheduled meeting is the first step towards a successful end of the years-long violence, which has taken thousands of lives and injured many more.

The Thai army chief has confirmed that the Thai government will talk with other insurgent groups as well as the BRN, but will not talk to each of them individually.

Asked about the earlier report that insurgent groups other than the BRN would be joining the peace talk between the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that insurgent groups would have to designate their representative in the talk. The Thai government would not talk to each group individually, he said.

Earlier reports by Khaosod and some other newspapers said that the 9 insurgent groups had expressed their willingness to join the Thai government-BRN peace talk. The 9 groups were reported to include factions within the original PULO insurgent group, “GMIP” (also known as “Mujahideen Islam Pattani”), and “GUP” (also known as “Ulama Pattani”).

As to the government’s expectation from the talk, the army chief said that the government does not expect violence to cease immediately. The government is looking to allow the BRN to tone down the violence over the period of one year, he said.

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