Tuesday , September 21 2021

Thailand wants everything from the BRN Rebel Group to join the Southern peace talks

The Thai military government on Wednesday urged all elements of the nation's most powerful separatist group to join the mediation talks in Malaysia.

Taiwan's Deputy Prime Minister and Prawit Wonswan's defense chief said all parties in the rebel group of the National Revolutionary Front or BRN should be involved in talks to resolve riots that killed nearly 7,000 people in the last 14 years.

"Most of the rebel movements have joined the talks, but the BNR is the only one who has not joined," Prawitt told reporters.

Prawitt apparently referred to the BRN military wing.

"The political wing has joined," he said. "We want all the moves to come out so we can talk."

It is extremely unusual for a senior Thai government official to name BRN by name, analysts say. Thai officials usually refer to southern rebels as "dissidents."

Last month, Udomchai Thammasarorat, Thailand's new chief negotiator in the peace process, said the Buddhist majority is open to talks with "all dissident groups."

Prawitt made a statement after meeting with Malaysian Defense Minister Mohadad Sabu, who ended his two-day visit to Bangkok on Wednesday.

The deep south covers the predominantly Muslim and Malay Provinces of Patani, Yala, Naritawaat and four provinces of Songkhla province, and is located along the northern border of the Malaysian Peninsula.

Prawitt made a statement after meeting with Malaysian Defense Minister Mohadad Sabu, who ended his two-day visit to Bangkok on Wednesday.

Malaysia facilitates peace talks between the Thai government and Maara Patani – a umbrella group that claims to negotiate on behalf of all southern rebel groups and includes representatives of BRN in its panel.

Earlier, Mohammad Sabu told reporters his first official visit to Thailand would focus on resolving the Deep South conflict. Many people in the Deep South provinces have family ties with the Malaysians, especially those living in the border countries of Perl, Kelt and Keda.

"What is happening in southern Thailand is on both sides, so we have to find the best solution through negotiations, defense diplomacy and various other means," Mohammad Sabu told the Bermuda Malaysian news service on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Mohamed Sabu spent about 45 minutes to discuss bilateral security issues with Thai Prime Minister Pijuit Chan-o-cha in the government house in Bangkok, reporters told reporters. Verhaon Suhondhandapatipak, spokesman for the Deputy Government.

Last month in The Bangkok Daily The Nation cite unidentified members of BRN who say their leaders are not interested in joining MARA Patani at the negotiating table and warn that Malaysia may risk compromising its role in the talks.

"These so-called peacekeepers, both domestic and foreign, could go along with this prudent strategy of Thailand without realizing that they are being played," said a BRN operative.

BRC members also voiced concern that pressure from Malaysia to bring them to the table could in the long run undermine efforts for peace, the report said.

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