Abhisit calls for clear policy on BRN

The government should review its stance in talks with separatist groups, particularly the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), which has increased its demands and put the Thai side on the defensive, opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday.

Mr Abhisit was commenting on the five demands issued by the BRN to Thai authorities via a YouTube video clip on Sunday, ahead of today's resumed talks in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the BRN seemed to regard the government as being the party in the wrong.

Its demand for Malaysia and international organisations to mediate the talks would only escalate the problems, he said.

Moreover, the BRN had indicated that it would not end the violence in the three southernmost border provinces,  to put more pressure on the government.

Therefore, the government should adopt a clear stance on how it intends to handle the issue, and propose clear criteria for the talks.

"What the BRN is doing is that - on the one hand it attends the talks, while on the other hand it continues to generate violence," Mr Abhisit said.

He said the government's unclear stance had put National Security Council (NSC) chief Paradorn Pattanathabut and Southern Border Provinces Administration Organisation (SPBAC) secretary-general Pol Col Thawee Sodsong in a difficult position, allowing the BRN to have the upper hand.

Mr Abhisit said the BRN is trying to raise the problems in the deep South to an international level by increasing the violence to put pressure on the government to yield to its demands.

If the government resorted to harsh retaliation it would become a victim of provocation. If the government did not do anything, the people would be affected. 

The BRN is stepping up  the pressure on the government at the talks, the Democrat Party leader said.

Asked to comment on Lt-Gen Paradorn's comment that if problems arose the talks might be suspended, Mr Abhisit said this was an alternative to be decided by the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the Thai delegation led by the NSC chief had no authority to accept the BRN's demands.

Any action to be taken must be discussed first by the committee for implementation of policies and strategies for solving problems in the far South, said Mr Chalerm, who chairs the committee.

Advice from the armed forces was also needed, he added.

Mr Chalerm said the BRN could raise any demands it wishes, but it was up to the Thai side to decide what to do.

Related search: south violence, peace talks, BRN, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Democrat,

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