Peace talks with BRN launched
Wanlop Rugsanaoh, head of Thailand's Peace Dialogue Panel, on Monday conducted his first talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) insurgent group in a bid to forge peace in the far South.
The Kuala Lumpur meeting was attended by the BRN's Anas Abdulrahman and facilitated by Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Noor of the Malaysian government.
The Thai side hailed the opening of official talks with the insurgent group as a step towards a peaceful resolution to decades of violence in the deep South.
"This meeting reaffirmed our endeavour and intention to seek peaceful solutions to the problems in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand and was a result of mutual efforts between the two sides which have been working closely to design the jointly accepted dialogue process," said a press release issued by the National Security Council's Secretariat for Peace Dialogue.
"The Panel attaches ... great importance to peace dialogue in order to achieve a sustainable peaceful solution. Therefore, we welcome all opinions and are ready to work with every stakeholder as we believe that sustainable dialogue process requires participation and support from all sectors," it added.
Meanwhile, the BRN said the peace dialogue with the Thai government was a result of a mutual agreement on the framework of the dialogue and its terms of reference (ToR).
"Both parties, the BRN and RTG [Royal Thai Government] will strengthen the commitment on the framework and ToR as a platform or ground rules for official dialogue," the statement said, adding that both parties had agreed to allow Malaysia to facilitate the talks and observers from overseas to attend them.
A Thai and a Swiss observer joined the first meeting between the two sides, who agreed to meet again on March 2-3, according to an anonymous source.