BANGKOK: The second peace dialogue meeting between the Thai government and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) concluded on a positive note, where both sides discussed technical and administrative issues to pave the way for long-term peace in Thailand’s violence-wracked South.
In a statement, the Secretariat for Peace Dialogue within the Office of National Security Council said the second meeting between the head of Thailand’s Peace Dialogue Panel, General Wanlop Rugsanaoh, and BRN, led by Anas Abdulrahman, was held on March 2 and 3 in Kuala Lumpur.
The meeting was facilitated by former Malaysian inspector-general of police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor.
“The overall atmosphere of the meeting was constructive, where both sides discussed technical and administrative issues in relation to the dialogue process.
“Topics concerning substantive issues, including the reduction of violence to create a conducive environment for the process, were also discussed.
“The substantive issues will require time, continuity and support from all sectors involved. The two sides will meet to discuss further details of all the issues in due course,” it said.
The Peace Dialogue Panel reaffirmed its commitment to solve the problem in the southern border provinces in accordance with a peaceful approach.
The first official dialogue meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 20, which saw both sides agreeing that negotiations were best for resolving Southern Thailand’s armed conflicts, bringing new hope to ending the violence in the South’s restive Muslim-majority provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla.
BRN was among several groups to have participated in formal peace talks with the Thai government until a military coup in 2014. Two years later, talks resumed between the Thai government and MARA Pattani, a body comprising various groups from the Thai deep south. At that time, BRN was only represented by its political wing.
However, the talks stalled in 2018.
Wanlop’s appointment as chief negotiator in October signalled for BRN to play a major role in the peace talks.
The insurgency, which began in the deep south in 2004, had claimed more than 7,000 lives. -- Bernama