Malaysia cooperating with Thailand to restore peace in southern border region: Thai FM


NEW YORK, Sept 22 — Malaysia is willing to cooperate with Thailand to bring peace to the country’s southernmost provinces, according to Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

Mr Surapong was interviewed after attending the opening ceremony of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and later held bilateral talks with his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman saying he thanked the Malaysian government for its good cooperation with Thailand in handling the violence in the three southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

He said the Malaysian minister asserted that the problem was Thailand’s internal affair and that it did not want to intervene. Malaysia, however, stands ready to cooperate with Thailand to return peace to the border region as it neither wants to see the problem intensify nor that innocent people, whether Thai or Malaysian, to lose their lives.

The Thai foreign minister said he expressed condolences to the Malaysian minister that four Malaysians lost their lives in last week’s multiple bombings in Narathiwat.

The four Malaysian tourists were among five persons killed and more than one hundred wounded in the bombings in Su-ngai Kolok district in Narathiwat last Friday.

Mr Surapong said he told his Malaysian counterpart that Thailand is ready to host the12th Thai Malaysian Joint Cooperation and the 3rd Thailand-Malaysia Committee on Joint Development Strategy for Border Areas (JDS) scheduled for later this year.

Both meetings would be the preparation for the 5th annual meeting of Thai and Malaysian leaders in which Malaysia would be the host.

In addition, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to visit Malaysia on Oct 3.

Mr Surapong also met with Executive Director Yury Fedotov of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) who had praised Thailand for the Enhancing Lives of Female Inmates (ELFI) project under the guidance of HRH Princess Bajarakitiyabha.

The project was a key driver behind the adoption of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders in December 2010, frequently referred to as the “Bangkok Rules.”

Mr Surapong had told Mr Fedotov that Thailand has adopted a crackdown on illicit drugs as its national agenda with the intention to eradicate as much as possible, or around 80 per cent within one year.

Mr Fedotov accepted Mr Surapong’s invitation to visit Thailand to meet with the kingdom’s drug-busting agencies.