Skyline and buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Prayut Asks Rebel Group to Bring Up New Demands with Malaysia

Thailand’s military junta chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha on Tuesday asked the most powerful Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate state in the country’s Deep South to convey its demands for revamping a peace building mechanism to Malaysia, the process facilitator.

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) had suggested Monday it wants a direct role in fresh talks that have been held in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur since 2015 to end the decades-old insurgency.

It had also called for mediation by a neutral third party and the participation of international observers.

“Whoever wants to talk peace with us, as we have Malaysia as the facilitator, [it] must propose via the facilitator,” Prayuth, Thailand’s prime minister, said in response to reporters’ questions about the BRN statement which appeared to reject the government’s current peace efforts with MARA Patani, an umbrella rebel panel which includes BRN.

He also made it clear that the junta would not hold any direct talks with rebels in Thailand and ruled out the participation of third parties.

“Regarding the participation of third parties in the peace talks, why do we need them,” Prayuth asked.

“We can solve our own problems. Why do we need someone else in? How can they understand the issues?”

He stressed that the government was committed to resolving the conflict, saying it “wants the situation to die down soonest” and that it would “fix the problems wherever they are.”

Some analysts interpreted the BRN statement as a signal that it wanted to negotiate directly with the Thai junta, rejecting MARA Patani’s lead role and questioning Malaysia’s impartiality as mediator in the peace process.

Full story: BenarNews

Araya Poejar and BenarNews staff
Bangkok and Pattani, Thailand

Copyright ©2017, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

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