PM names new chief negotiator

PM names new chief negotiator

Chatchai: First civilian to hold post
Chatchai: First civilian to hold post

Chatchai Bangchuad, a deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), has been selected by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin as the new chief negotiator of the government's peace dialogue panel in the far South.

He will replace Gen Wanlop Rugsanaoh whose tenure ended following the formation of the new government.

A source said the prime minister wanted a civilian in the seat despite two generals who were former Fourth Army chiefs being among the candidates nominated.

The premier wants to improve the image of the negotiation team as well as the soldiers, who were also given a say in the appointment.

In addition, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu-Patani (BRN) and insurgent groups in the far South have often claimed to feel uncomfortable negotiating with government peace teams led by soldiers or members of the Thai military, according to the source.

Mr Chatchai has worked alongside the peace dialogue panel and security affairs teams for years.

He also retains the possibility of promotion to secretary-general of the NSC in the future as he served as a civil servant until 2027.

Today, the premier will meet Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the Sadao checkpoint in Songkhla to discuss trade and tourism and introduce Mr Chatchai, the source said.

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