Thailand, Malaysia annual consultation Thursday
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will travel to Malaysia on Thursday for official consultations on bilateral cooperation along the border and sideline talks on arranging meetings with leaders of the southern insurgency.
- Published: 27/02/2013 at 03:54 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
The prime minister will attend the Thailand-Malaysia annual consultation in Putrajaya. Sideline talks are planned on cooperating in arranging meetings between the Thai government and leaders of the insurgency.
She will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat, Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthipan, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan, Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal and PM’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva.
A joint press statement will be issued after a meeting between Ms Yingluck and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The Thai cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft of the joint statement which covers the following major topics:
1. Cooperation between the two countries to solve problems in the southern border provinces to ensure economic development and security in the border area under the agreed confidence building measures covering education, employment and businesses.
2. A plan to speed up linking Thailand's southern development plan with those of northern and eastern states of Malaysia and completing a project to build two bridges across the Kolok River bordering the two countries.
3. Promotion of trade and investment between the private sectors of the two countries in the border areas over oil, gas, energy, car manufacturing industry, rubber products and tourism as well as the establishment of a Thai-Malaysian business council.
4. Cooperation in and promotion of Halal businesses.
5. Promotion of cooperation on radio frequencies in the border areas to cope with the expansion and television and mobile telephone services.
6. The signing of an agreementt over cross-border travels of the peoples and a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on youth affairs and sports between the two countries ahead of the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
7. Promotion of labour cooperation with an aim to enable Thais to operate restaurants in Malaysia legally.
8. A plan to speed up cooperation on: 1) Employment, human resources development and promotion of labour skill standards; 2) Immigration and screening of persons holding dual nationalities; 3) Transnational crimes; 4) Prisoners exchange; 5) A review of the extradition treaty; 6) A review of the agreement on border cooperation; 7) Suppression of human trafficking; and 8) Transport of goods and passengers across the Thai-Malaysian border.
Ms Yingluck said after the cabinet meeting that during her visit to Malaysia she would hold talks with the Malaysian prime minister on cross-border trade and promotion of peace in the three southern border provinces.
She denied speculation that the cabinet would discuss appointing former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh as deputy prime minister for security affairs.
However, she said the government is open to opinions from Gen Chavalit, who is well-versed in problems relating to the three southern border provinces.
National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Paradon Pattanathabutr said earlier today that the prime minister will take the opportunity of her visit to discuss ways to cooperate in ending the unrest in the far South.
The discussion would focus on cooperation between the two countries in an arrangement for talks between Thai authorities and key members of separatist movements in the three southernmost provinces, Lt Gen Paradon said.
Malaysia would act as a facilitator for the talks, not a mediator. It would help arrange a suitable venue for the meeting, he said, adding that Thai authorities want discussions with all militant groups.
He said in order to make the talks possible, the government will be open to any conditions that are not in breach of the constitution. Any demand to separate territory from Thailand would definitely not be accepted.
The NSC secretary-general insisted that holding talks would not mean upgrading the southern unrest problem, just an increase in cooperation because the situation in deep South showed that discussions are needed.
National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 has evaluated the security situation in the far South and concluded the overall situation has greatly improved.
Pol Gen Adul said the criteria for assessing the situation deep South are the number of violent incidents that recently occurred in the region and the safety and well-being of people there.
He said the number of soldiers in the far South would likely be reduced but more police officers would be deployed to the region. About 3,000 police would be sent to the region in May, he added.
More than 5,300 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, have been killed since 2004, according to local conflict monitor Deep South Watch.
In Narathiwat, two power poles on the Narathiwat-Pattani highway at Ban Blukasanor in tambon Tapoyoh of Yingor were brought down by explosives late on Tuesday night.
Yingor police chief Pol Col Suthon Sukviseth said it appeared a five-kilogramme improvised bomb was attached to each power pole and then detonated by mobile phones.
He blamed separatist militants.
He said no one was hurt because the militants aimed only at destroying the investment climate in the southernmost province.
Power poles on the Narathiwat-Pattani highway were brought down by explosives late on Tuesday night. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
About the author
- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters