Thai junta rejects conditional peace talks with Muslim insurgents

BANGKOK: Thailand’s military junta on Tuesday rejected a conditional offer from the main Muslim separatist group fighting in southern Thailand to enter into formal peace talks.

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) said on Monday that it would be willing to enter into formal negotiations on the decades-old insurgency if certain conditions were met by the Thai government.

Among its demands were mediation by a neutral third party and the participation of international observers.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha rejected the offer and said peace talks were an internal matter and required no international mediation or observation.

“Why do they need to come mediate? Can we not fix these problems ourselves? And if they do come what guarantees do we have that they would understand the issues?” Prayuth said.

The insurgency in the largely ethnic-Malay, Muslim-majority southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has claimed more than 6,500 lives since it escalated in 2004, says independent monitoring group Deep South Watch.

Prayuth said negotiations would continue in Malaysia with a different group, Mara Pattani, but regional experts said that faction of largely exiled insurgents had no real power on the ground.

“In the long term if the government wants lasting peace in the region they must include BRN in any negotiations,” said Srisompop Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch.

There has been an upsurge of violence this month, including what police described as the biggest attack in years and 23 coordinated attacks on Friday, a day after Thailand adopted a new constitution.

No group has claimed responsibility for those attacks and there were no reports of fatalities.

Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat were part of an independent Malay Muslim sultanate before being annexed by Thailand in 1909.

Voters in the most heavily Muslim parts of Thailand were among the few to reject a military-drafted constitution at a referendum last year.

(Reporting by Cod Satrusayang; Editing by Matthew Tostevin, Robert Birsel)

This entry was posted in Muslim majority Southern Thailand, Thailand - Thái Lan, Unrest in Southern Thailand and tagged , , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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