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Thai govt, Muslim group agree to Ramadan truce


SIGNIFICANT: Move to stop hostilities for 40 days hailed as big step forward

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN),  a group representing Muslim communities in southern Thailand, have agreed to a 40-day Ramadan peace initiative.

The  move was described as a significant step forward in the ongoing peace negotiations between both parties.

 During the period, which began on the evening of Tuesday (first day of Ramadan) and ends on Aug 18 (10th day of Syawal), both parties will take efforts to ensure a "violence-free Ramadan", said Malaysian facilitator to the Joint Working

Group-Southern Thailand Peace Process Datuk Seri Ahmad Zamzamin Hashim.

  "Initially, it was supposed to be a declaration, but both sides have not signed any document. Hence, we treat it as a common understanding made in the spirit of Ramadan.

  "During this period, the Thai government will continue its responsibility towards crime prevention and monitoring public security, while refraining from aggressive action with regard to the security problems caused by the southern unrest.

  "BRN, meanwhile, will ensure no violence is caused in terms of armed attacks, ambushes and bombings towards security forces and the public. They also pledged not to destroy public property, besides guaranteeing the safety of non-Muslims in their areas."

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