Thai General’s Comments Irk Panel Representing Southern Rebels in Peace Talks

Malay-Muslim men in Pattani

Malay-Muslim men in Pattani, southern Thailand. Image: udeyismail.

The military program that encourages insurgents in Thailand’s Deep South to surrender has been a source of friction lately in peace talks between the Thai government and a panel negotiating on behalf of rebel groups in three-year-old peace talks.

The MARA Patani panel issued a rare statement last week to clear up any “confusion or misunderstanding” that may have arisen in recent weeks.

It pointed in particular to comments made by the Thai army’s southern regional commander, who had touted the success of the so-called Bring People Home program and who claimed on Monday that it was causing rebel groups to “lose supporters.”

“We have confidence in the Thai peace dialogue team mandated by the Prime Minister and we are convinced that it is a formal process that has been adopted as a national agenda,” Sukree Haree, the head of the panel, said Friday in a statement.

MARA issued it after Sukree and other panel representatives gave an unusual press conference in Kelantan, a northern Malaysian state that borders the Thai Deep South.

“However, we are concerned over certain statements and actions by the Fourth Army Commander that contradict the peace dialogue process,” he added, referring to Lt. Gen. Piyawat Nakwanich, the Thai army chief in the southern border region who had boasted in recent weeks about the success of Bring People Home.

In his statement, Sukree said MARA remained committed to solving the decades-old separatist conflict in the Deep South through the current peace dialogue.

Full story: BenarNews

Mariyam Ahmad
Pattani,Thailand. Nontarat Phaicharoen in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Copyright ©2018, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

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