Democrat: National benefit is priority

Democrat MP Ong-art Klampaibul said his party has three recommendations for the peace negotiations set to resume Monday, which take into account the fact that violence has increased significantly since the talks kicked off.

Ongart: National benefit is the priority.

First, it wants the negotiators to work for the national benefit. Second, any proposals for the negotiations should be thoroughly considered from all related parties, whether they be government agencies, the people or other groups. Third, the negotiations should not be used as a political tool for any political or other groups.

He said the Democrat Party is confident that negotiations based on the three recommendations would assist in finding a solution to the violence in the deep South.

At the same time, deputy Democrat leader Thavorn Senneam warned the unrest in southern Thailand could become an international issue which would produce a consequential impact on the country's sovereignty.

Commenting on a video featuring the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) chief negotiator Hassan Taib and a BRN ideologue who set out five conditions for a peaceful settlement to the conflict, Mr Thavorn, who is in charge of the Democrats' team on the South, said the party had previously warned that news on the peace talks given by National Security Council (NSC) chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut could be harmful as the other side might weave his comments into an international issue and bring in international organisations.

He said international involvement would have an impact on Thai sovereignty and several other security issues. The Democrat Party had suggested to the government that the negotiations should be held as informal talks to get a preliminary solution first.

The BRN demands are as follows: 

1) The "Siamese government" must accept the role of the Malaysian government as "mediator" of the peace talks and not just as a "facilitator".

2) The peace talks will be attended by only the Melayus led by BRN, and the authorities of the Siamese government. ("Melayu" is the self-description of the BRN, used only for Thais of Malay origin in the deep South. It is one key to negotiations, since the insurgents do not recognise the rights of non-Malay Thais in the region.)

3) Representatives of Asean members, members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and other non-governmental organisations should be allowed to observe the discussions.

4) The Siamese authorities must release all detained suspects without conditions, and must suspend and stop issuing additional arrest warrants for other suspects.

5) The BRN's status must be recognised as a Pattani liberation movement, not an insurgency group.

"The NSC chief is stupid for what he has done. At this moment, what will be the responsibility of the government or the national security authority?" Mr Thavorn said.

"The BRN knows how to use the media to pressure Thai national security authorities into playing their game. The only solution at this moment is to review the method and strategy on how to talk with them. I don't suggest calling off the negotiations, just an adjustment in strategy." 

Related search: south, insurgency, peace negotiations, democrats

About the author

columnist
Writer: Pradit Ruangdit
Position: Reporter