NSC denies peace talks failure

The government's peace talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) have not failed, National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut insists.

  • Published: 1/05/2013 at 12:55 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Both sides are still listening to each other, he said Tuesday.

Security experts examine the wreckage of a motorcycle that was used in an attack on a military patrol unit on the Dusongyo-Rangae Road in Narathiwat's Rangae district. The motorcycle, loaded with a 10kg bomb, was parked on the roadside and detonated when a five-member unit drove past at 2pm Tuesday. No one was injured. (Photo by Waedao Harai)

Lt Gen Paradorn was responding to reports the BRN's demands have stalled the talks. The BRN posted five demands on YouTube one day before the dialogue resumed on Monday in Kuala Lumpur.

The video was not formally discussed at the talks but a document pertaining to the demands was submitted to the NSC by the BRN, he said.

The BRN claimed the demands came from locals who insisted that the list be included in future talks.

The government negotiators will acknowledge the demands, Lt Gen Paradorn said.

During Monday's talks, the NSC encouraged the BRN and insurgents under its umbrella to stop carrying out attacks, he said.

The BRN representatives said they had instructed all active insurgent groups to avoid attacking civilians.

The NSC secretary-general, however, dismissed the BRN's call to have Malaysia act as a mediator in the talks - one of the five demands.

He said Malaysia has made it clear from the beginning that it would only facilitate the meetings.

As for the BRN's demand to allow the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to observe the talks, that was a decision for the government, he said.

Bringing the OIC into the fold would turn the southern unrest into an international issue, he said.

This week's talks focused on building trust between the two parties, he said.

The next round of talks is set for June 13 and will go ahead as planned.

The NSC is ready to hold similar talks with other groups as well, Lt Gen Paradorn added.

Yutthasak Sasiprapa, an adviser to the prime minister, said the NSC should appoint expert negotiators to the team.

The BRN's demands are not acceptable, Gen Yutthasak said.

The former defence minister said the NSC team should propose demands to the BRN in response. The negotiating conditions should not be set by the insurgents, he said.

Other groups should be involved too, he added, referring to a proposal by the Federation of Students in the Southern Border Provinces. The federation has called for open involvement in the talks.

Former Internal Security Operations Command chief Panlop Pinmanee said the BRN's demands were unacceptable - especially its call to lift all charges against insurgent suspects.

"The government has to suspend its talks with the insurgent groups now," he said.

Meanwhile, a militant was killed in a clash between rangers and a group of separatists in Chanae district of Narathiwat province Tuesday morning.

The clash occurred about 7.20am while a unit of 30 rangers led by Maj Wichit Kongnoon, commander of Rangers Company 4603, combed the Ire Kalo mountain range in tambon Chang Phuak. They were searching for separatist camps.

The forces spotted three huts located about 3km away from the foot of the mountain range.

Six men from the huts opened fire on the rangers, and the two sides exchanged gunfire for about 10 minutes, forcing the militants to retreat.

The rangers found the body of Mahama Sukuri Moheng, 28, left behind. He was wanted under several warrants for violation of the emergency decree. A pistol was found with his body, officials said.

In another incident, an unidentified number of militants sprayed bullets at the base of Company 15334 of the 12th ad hoc Yala unit in Ban Por Maeng village in Raman district of Yala about 7pm. Both sides exchanged gunfire for about 15 minutes.

When the attack stopped, six soldiers at the base were slightly injured.

Authorities believe the Runda Kumpulan Kecil separatist movement launched the attack to show its opposition to the peace talks.

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Writer: Patsara Jikkham & Waedao Harai

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