The southern separatist group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) has called off further peace talks with Thailand until the government “responds positively to its demands”, confirmed Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok.
The message was given to the Thai government by Malaysia, which has been acting as a facilitator in the peace negotiations. The dates for the next round of talks were expected to be set after the Ramadan ceasefire agreement ended on August 18.
In April, the BRN had offered to curb the southern violence if the government met five demands. The demands were:
1. The Thai government must accept the role of Malaysia as the government mediator in the peace talks, not as a facilitator.
2. The peace talks will be attended by the Melayu Pattanis led by the BRN, and the Thai government.
3. Asean members, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other non-governmental organisations must be allowed to witness the talks.
4. Thai authorities must release all detained suspects and suspend and revoke all arrest warrants concerning national security cases without condition.
5. The BRN’s status must be recognised as a Pattani liberation movement, not a separatist group.
The National Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on the southern unrest next week, according to Pol.Gen. Pracha.
Deep South Watch, an independent research group, says 86 attacks were reported in the deep South during Ramadan from July 10 until August 7. A total of 29 people were killed and 105 injured in the attacks during this period.
Hassan Taib, the chief negotiator for the BRN, had earlier submitted a protest letter to the Thai government via the Malaysian talks facilitator, accusing the government of failing to protect Muslims in the South during the holy month of Ramadan, which the letter said resulted in the deaths of 11 Muslims.
The violence continued during the fasting month in spite of the ceasefire agreement. Ramadan ended Thursday in both Thailand and Malaysia. Image/Bangkok Post