BANGKOK: MARA Patani (Patani Consultative Council), rejected allegation that it is not ready for the implementation of Safety Zones in southern Thailand.
Describing the allegation as unfounded, its spokesman Abu Hafez Al-Hakim said both sides - MARA Patani and the Thai government - must be committed and fully prepared before the Safety Zones were to be created.
“At this juncture, some minor details of certain issues related to Safety Zones, especially from the Thai side, has not been satisfactorily addressed. More discussion and clarification are needed, hence the implementation is a little delayed,” he said in a statement today.
MARA Patani, said Abu Hafez, reiterated its commitment and readiness to implement the Safety Zones when all detailed issues related to the General Framework of the Safety Zones were satisfactorily addressed.
He was commenting on a statement made by the government’s chief negotiator General Aksara Kerdphol in Thai newspapers yesterday which pinned the blame for the delay in the Safety Zone implementation on MARA Patani.
Despite that, the government, according to him, would continue to push forward the proposal for Safety Zones despite the related parties being not yet ready at this stage.
Aksara’s remarks on the issue of Safety Zones came days after the latest round of violence in Yala province where unidentified men detonated three homemade bombs which killed two soldiers and left 27 injured, most of them members of the bomb disposal unit.
Meanwhile, Abu Hafez also said that the peace dialogue would continue and both sides had agreed to meet again at the end of the month, following their “shortened” meeting on Sept 12 in Kuala Lumpur due to some technical disagreement.
He said the shortened meeting was not without precedence as the meeting on April 27 last year, was also cut short because the Thai side was not ready to endorse the terms of reference (ToR), thus the agenda of Safety Zones was not discussed.
“The situation is not abnormal in any peace process where dialogue partners hold different views,” he said adding that the correct approach was to continue the dialogue and not walk away from it.
The Thai media reports on the “collapsed” Sept 12 peace talk, he said, was intentionally blown out of proportion to discredit the peace process. — BERNAMA