BRN YouTube clip threatens talks
The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN)'s five demands issued ahead of today's peace talks with the government will be "hard to accept," National Security Council (NSC) chief Paradorn Pattanatabut says.
- Published: 29/04/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The BRN issued the demands on the eve of the second round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur.
If the BRN insists on having its way, the peace initiative may be disrupted, said Lt Gen Paradorn, before leaving for Malaysia for today's meeting.
The NSC chief, who heads the Thai delegation, was responding to a video clip released by the BRN yesterday on YouTube.
In the three-minute and 45-second video, entirely in Malay, the BRN said a peaceful settlement in the far South insurgency would depend on five conditions.
"I will ask [BRN liaison office chief] Hassan Taib if he really meant what he said," Lt Gen Paradorn said.
"Their demands are hard to accept. And if they want to have it all, I think it will disrupt the talks."
The NSC secretary-general reviewed the clip before he left for Malaysia yesterday with members of the negotiating team.
Appearing in the clip were BRN liaison office chief Hassan Taib and Abdul Karim Khalib, a "staff delegate" from the March 28 talks.
The video was translated by Hara Shintaro, who teaches Malay at Prince of Songkla University Pattani campus.
The video clip concludes with a promise to end the "colonial rule and oppression of Patani Malay" and to bring peace and justice.
"Patani" is the separatists' word for the region covering Thailand's four southernmost provinces.Lt Gen Paradorn said some of the demands were not in line with the principles of the peace talk agreement both sides signed in late February.
"How can we upgrade the status of Malaysia? Malaysia itself has agreed to the role of facilitator, not mediator," he said.
"It was agreed that talks would be in line with the Thai constitution."
Lt Gen Paradorn said today's talks will focus on how to curb insurgent violence in the deep South _ the crux of the peace process agreement.
"Let me hear their demands," he said. "There will be a lot of discussion among those concerned, including the prime minister."
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will probably be included in future talks to help the delegates understand the Islamic community, he said. "The OIC's role is not necessary at the moment."
Lt Gen Paradorn said the BRN appears sincere enough to clearly state its conditions. "It is better than leaving it to our imagination." However, he said it is inappropriate for the BRN to refer to Thais as "imperialists".
A source close to the negotiations said some observers are starting to wonder if Mr Taib wants out of the talks given the continuing violence in the region.
The conditions are clearly unacceptable to the Thai side, the source said.
"It is not clear if the next round of talks will take place in May," the source said.
Thai delegates will have to show patience at today's meeting, he said.
Mr Khalib is in charge of political affairs for the BRN in Pattani and four districts in Songkhla, the source said. He is also the chief of Permuda, the youth wing of the Runda Kampulan Kecil (RKK).
A Thai court has issued a warrant for Mr Khalib, who attended the March 28 talks in Kuala Lumpur as a staff delegate. He is reportedly hiding in Malaysia's Kelantan state.
Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre director, Thawee Sodsong, said the video clip could be a way for the BRN to communicate with militants in the area.
It could also dispel doubts that Mr Khalib was being forced to take part in the peace process, he said.
"I think their appearance will clear up [any confusion among insurgents] and set up a communication channel with those in the field," he said.
Democrat deputy leader Thaworn Senneam said Lt Gen Paradorn was wrong for publicising the peace talks. An initial agreement should have been reached first, he said.
He said the insurgents are now trying to involve the international community to raise national sovereignty claims.
"The NSC chief is a fool. The government is being pressured to dance to the [BRN]'s tune. If the government wants to proceed, it needs to review its strategy," he said.
"I am not suggesting we scrap the dialogue, but we need a new strategy."
Democrat MP Ong-art Klampaibul yesterday urged the negotiating team to ensure the peace process would not be exploited for political interests.
He said the talks would bear fruit if the government keeps the national interest in mind.
Meanwhile, authorities yesterday confiscated bomb-making materials and weapons during a village search in Pattani's Nong Chik district.
Authorities seized a sack of urea fertiliser, 2kg of metal, an M16 rifle and nearly 100 rounds of ammunition. Some of the materials were found in the home of Rosah Yousoh, 44, who was arrested. He said the materials did not belong to him.
About the author
- Writer: Wassana Nanuam
- Position: Reporter