Deputy PM Yuthasak asserts government gives priority to southern problem

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BANGKOK, Sept 22 — Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa on Saturday asserted the government has given priority to solving the problems of the southernmost provinces while a meeting between the government and opposition Democrat Party on solutions to the problems was considered a positive sign.

Gen Yuthasak, standing in for the PM on her weekly TV programme “Yingluck’s Government Meets People,” said the southern border provinces development plan drafted by the government would be the outline for the integrated work of 66 agencies responsible in the affected areas.

The setting up of an new committee to solve southern border province problems would be a driving force for the implementation of policy to

ward the southernmost provinces, and the new panel would also act as a coordinator between the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC).

The deputy premier said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will soon sign an order setting up an Operation Centre for Committee on Policy and Strategy in Solving Southern Problems.

The new centre will replace the Operation Centre on Solutions to Problems in Southern Provinces, earlier established by the premier and jointly headed by three deputy premiers—Yuthasak, Chalerm Yubamrung and Yongyuth Wichaidit.

Gen Yuthasak said the overall situation in southern provinces was gradually improving, as the public has more confidence on the government while intelligence work was carried out with more unity.

The government would assure fairness and justice to the people in the southern provinces, particularly with 93 insurgent defectors, he said.

Gen Yuthasak added that the meeting with the opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and MPs from the southern provinces was a good sign that all party saw the southern violence problem as national agenda.

Some proposals from the Democrat Party were underway and some had started to be implemented, he said.

The deputy premier affirmed the government was ready to work with the opposition party.