No failure in Kuala Lumpur peace talks: Thai security chief

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BANGKOK, April 30 – Thailand must wait and see if violence in the far South diminishes before the next round of peace talks with militant leaders on June 13, a high-level security official said today.

National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Paradorn Pattanathabut said the National Barisan Revolusi (BRN) leaders promised to coordinate with related movements to stop attacks on state forces and civilians in Thailand’s southern border provinces as requested by the Thai government.

He led a Thai security delegation for the second round of the peace dialogue with the BRN in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

The talks came on the heels of a video clip by the BRN which spelled out a five-point list of demands to the Thai government. The BRN liaison officer Hassan Taib read the demands on the YouTube .

Lt Gen Paradorn said the BRN’s demand on the video-sharing website could not be interpreted as a failure of the peace talks.

The five-point verbal demand was officially proposed in a written version in yesterday’s dialogue but the Thai security team did not accept it.

“It’s normal for the BRN to make such an extreme demand which, it claimed, reflects the people’s desire. We were ready to listen to it,” he said.

The NSC chief said Malaysia turned down one point of the demand called for participation by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and non-governmental organisations in the peace talks.

Malaysia, which has facilitated the peace talks, emphasised that attendance by fourth parties would diminish its role in the peace process while Thailand strongly objected to elevate the peace talks to an international forum, Lt Gen Paradorn said.

Thailand stood firm in yesterday’s dialogue that the peace process must be in accord with the Thai constitution and that any moves to separate the Thai kingdom or set up a new state were unacceptable.

He admitted that some of the BRN’s demands could be a breach of the constitution.