BANGKOK, 7 October 2013 – Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-O-Cha has asserted that the peace dialogue between Thailand and the BRN militant group will never be upgraded to negotiations.
Gen Prayuth said the dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional is not an ultimate solution to the southern violence as the discussions only provide opportunities for people with different views to express themselves. The General reassured that Thai authorities have never abused people of other religions, as claimed by the opposing group.
He went on to say that the peace talks with the BRN group will never become a negotiating platform as Thailand cannot put the insurgents in the same position as the government. He added that Thailand has not yet accepted the BRN’s five-point demands.
The army chief further revealed that the southern insurgents are always looking for opportunities to attack the officers and terrorize people in the area. He said it might be necessary for the officials to take a more proactive approach in dealing with insurgents.
Gen Prayuth said his visit to the restive South was to monitor the progress of solution measures and to give moral support to police and soldiers wounded by clashes with insurgents, as well as to express condolences to the families of fallen soldiers.
In its proposals , the BRN calls upon the Thai government to recognize the identity, race and language of the Melayu people, to withdraw its troops from the restive southern region, to let local security forces take over peacekeeping duties, and to offer amnesty to insurgents.