Hassan sets new demands on peace talks

Hassan sets new demands on peace talks

The next round of southern peace talks between the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and the National Security Council (NSC) will be held after two conditions are met, BRN liason office chief Hassan Taib said yesterday.

In a video clip posted on YouTube yesterday, Mr Hassan said firstly, the BRN's five preliminary demands must be acknowledged and fully implemented by the "Siamese parliament".

Secondly, he said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra must place peace negotiations on the southern unrest on the national agenda.

Mr Hassan said the conditions were set by the Revolution Council on Aug 6. The video, which was posted in Malay by the "Hassan Taib" account, was translated into Thai and English by Hara Shintaro, who teaches Malay at Prince of Songkla University Pattani campus.

"The BRN is a liberation movement for the Patani nation, to liberate it from the shackles of Siamese colonialism, to realise justice and prosperity in the form of the independent Patani," Mr Hassan said in the video. "This is the true meaning of 'genuine peace', not the peace under the colonial rule of the Siamese."

"Patani" is the name the BRN uses to refer to the Malay Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.

On April 28, the BRN issued five demands to the Thai government if it is to comply with attempts to end the southern unrest.

The demands are for the government to recognise the BRN as a liberation group rather than as a separatist movement; to recognise Malaysia as the peace talks mediator; and for Asean member countries, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and international NGOs to witness the talks. The fourth demand is for the Thai side to acknowledge the rights of the "Melayu Patani" people to "Patani land", and the fifth calls on the government to free all suspects held on security-related charges.

In the clip, Mr Hassan identified himself as the "former BRN chief negotiator".

The NSC and BRN have held three rounds of talks since February. The latest round was held in June.

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