Peace talks key despite ongoing attacks in South

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BANGKOK, April 9 – The intentional peace dialogue is the best means to resolve unrest in Thailand’s deep South, not a further aggravation of the insurgency crisis, according to a senior Thai security official.

National Security Council Secretary General Paradorn Pattanathabut said the militants’ continued attacks on the Thai authorities could not be clearly defined if it is an attempt to upgrade the level of violence since other factors may be involved.

Yala deputy governor Isara Thongthawat and senior provincial official Chavalit Chaireuk were killed and their driver was seriously injured by a bomb detonated by militants on a road in Yala’s Bannang Sata district on Friday.

The incident was a blow to the peace process between the government and militant groups which held their second round of meetings last month and set April 29 for the next peace talks session.

Lt Gen Paradorn said violence also escalated in the festive months of March-April last year. He acknowledged that there have been attempts to obstruct the peace dialogues.

He insisted that the current peace process is the best path to resolution of the unrest in Thailand’s Muslim majority provinces on the Thai-Malaysian border and that the government was on the right path.

Talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) leaders, he said, are necessary to create understanding and trust which will be further developed to peaceful solutions.

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Thai representatives attending the peace dialogue on April 29 must clearly spell out Thailand’s demand for an improved situation and less violence in the South.

The escalating attacks (on the Thai authorities) reflect a lack of authority among the insurgent leaders who attended the peace dialogues, he said.

He called on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to directly take charge of supervising the southern situation, instead of assigning it to Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung who has never set foot on the southern region.