Government officials at the second round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur Monday gave the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) separatist movement one month to prove it represented the southern insurgency groups.
The demand came after the BRN entered the talks in the Malaysian capital determined to stick to their five demands revealed in an unexpected video clip on Sunday that caught the negotiators by surprise.
The demands were rejected by the Thai officials.
Instead, they countered with their own demand that the BRN prove it was representing the southern separatist movement.
They told BRN leader Hassan Taib he would have to do that by reducing the number of violent attacks in the three southern-most provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani. The provinces have suffered an expanded number of deadly bombings and shootings since the negotiations were announced last month to begin moves towards real peace negotiations.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to resume the talks on June 13.
Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut said Thai negotiators would have no objection if BRN representatives wanted to raise the demands at the talks. The BRN issued its demands to Thai authorities via a YouTube video clip on Sunday.
On the demand that Thai authorities must release all detained suspects, he said they would need to have concrete lists or details as the demand was too broad.
"We hope that whoever wins in the May 5 election won't affect the talks," Lt Gen Paradorn said. "Thailand and Malaysia have the same standards and expectations to see the dialogue continue, so we hope and expect for their support," he said.
Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier said the government should review its stance in the talks with separatist groups, particularly the BRN, which has increased its demands and put the Thai side on the defensive.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.