Thursday February 28, 2013
Malaysia to facilitate talks with Thai insurgents
BANGKOK: Malaysia will become a “facilitator” for talks with separatist groups in the south of Thailand, while the national security council chiefs of both countries will tackle the issue together, said Thailand's National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr.
“We need Malaysia's help because some insurgents are not based in Thailand, so Malaysia will facilitate by finding out who is involved and who is ready to talk,” Paradorn said yesterday.
He said Thailand needed to ensure that it stayed a single, undivided state as per the constitution, and added that if the issue of allowing a special administration zone was brought up, they would look into details and see if it went against the charter.
“The talks will let us know what they think and want so we can design solutions, but everything will be based on the rule of law and the constitution.”
Hailing the Thai-Malaysian security cooperation as a good start, Paradorn said negotiations with insurgent groups were needed to end the unrest and that if the authorities got the chance to talk to one group, they will eventually reach all groups.
Paradorn said the joint press conference by the Thai and Malaysian prime ministers today would cover the unrest in the south.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will host his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra during her scheduled working visit to Malaysia in conjunction with the 5th Malaysia-Thailand Annual Consultation.
Paradorn hoped the cooperation would limit the insurgents' movements, as they usually move across the border, and they would now feel pressured to talk with Thai authorities.
Defence Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said the Thai authorities' strategy of tackling the unrest in the south was on the right track, especially in terms of taking a peaceful approach and its readiness for talks.
Colonel Pramote Prom-in, spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4, said 3,400 police officers would be deployed to the region in mid-May.
However, if the violence ends by April, the Army Regions 1 to 3 will return to their camps.
“Judging from the current situation, we will be able to see a light (at the end of the tunnel) soon,” he added. - The Nation / Asia News Network