Second southern Thailand peace talks ends on positive note

BANGKOK, The second peace dialogue meeting between the Thai government and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) concluded on a positive note, where both sides discussed a number of technical and administrative issues to pave the way for long-term peace in Thailand's violence-wracked South.

In a statement, the Secretariat for Peace Dialogue (SPD) within the Office of National Security Council said the second meeting between the head of Thailand's Peace Dialogue Panel, General Wanlop Rugsanaoh, and BRN � led by Ustaz Anas Abdulrahman � was held on March 2 and 3 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The meeting was facilitated by Malaysia's former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor.

The overall atmosphere of the meeting was constructive where both sides discussed a number of technical and administrative issues in relation to the dialogue process.

The meeting also began discussing topics of substantive issues including the reduction of violence in order to create a conducive environment for the process.

The substantive issues will require time, continuity, and support from all sectors involved. The two sides will meet to discuss further details of all the issues in due course, it said.

The Peace Dialogue Panel reaffirmed its commitment to take utmost efforts to solve the problem in the Southern Border Provinces in accordance with a peaceful approach.

The first official dialogue meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 20 which saw both sides agreeing that negotiations are best for resolving 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.

The BRN was among several groups to have participated in formal peace talks with the Thai government until a military coup in 2014. Two years later, talks were resumed 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, the talks were stalled in 2018.

Subsequently, Wanlop's appointment as chief negotiator last October signalled for the BRN to play a major role in the peace talks.

The insurgency, which began in the deep south in 2004, has claimed more than 7,000 lives.

Source: NAM News Network