BRN negotiator gives first media interview

In his first talk on Thai media airwaves, Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) negotiator Hassan Taib committed to the success of the peace dialogue process, but conceded there are other groups on both the Malay and Thai sides who do not want this to happen.

He made his comments in a 38-minute talk in Bahasia Malaysia with the New Aspiration Party's former Narathiwat candidate A-Sae Tohramae. It was aired on Tuesday night in Thailand's southern border provinces, broadcast by Pattani-based radio station Media Selatan.

The interview was followed by an 18-minute talk with  Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut, secretary general of the National Security Council (NSC).

It was Mr Hassan's first interview with any Thai media on the peace dialogue process launched on Feb 28 in Kuala Lumpur.

In an informal translation provided by the Thai intelligence agency, Mr Hassan said the peace dialogue was the beginning of a joint effort with Thailand to find a solution to the southern unrest.

 So far the talks had gone well and the Thai delegation seemed to have a better understanding of the issue, he said.

He told the interviewer that the talks with the Thai government will remain focussed on the BRN's five proposals, and not move to other issues.

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The Thai government, he said, has the intention to engage in peace talks, but there remain those opposed to the peace dialogue, particularly the military, royalists, and an opposition political party.

Mr Hassan said he wanted the peace talks to continue and that all sides should consider it to be a national agenda.

Mr Hassan pledged that he would try to reduce lthe evel of violence, but the power to stop  the attacks rested with the higher council, known as the Dewan Penilian Party (DPP).

Hassan Taib (File Photo)

Mr Hassan said it was not possible to announce that the attacks would be reduced immediately.

People with different views had emerged and were causing violence on the ground.

He said the BRN had worked for a long time with other groups, like the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) and Barisan Islam Pembangunan Patani (BIPP).

There was a Pulo representative (known as Lukman bin Lima) with the BRN delegation to the talks and a person from the  BIPP, which also supported the process but had no representatives on the BRN delegation.

Mr Hassan said the BRN wanted Malaysia to be coordinator and mediator of the talks, because they were also Malay people and had a better understanding of the southern problem in Thailand than other countries.

"So we push for Malaysia as the intermediary to ensure a smooth talks process until we achieve the goals," said Mr Hassan.

On the rights of Malay people, Mr Hassan said the BRN would thoroughly consider the concept of special administration, or a form of autonomy that suits them.

 "But the final goal and main path of the BRN remains independence in freedom of education, economics and the  social and religious way of life," he said.

Mr Hassan concluded with a call for the Thai government to "trust and lay confidence on the BRN and acknowledge that Malayu Patani wants to fight to get back these traditional basic rights".

Related search: South violence, peace dialogue, Barisan Revolusi Nasional, BRN, negotiator Hassan Taib

About the author

Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
Position: Senior Reporter