PM says deep South must free from war weapons

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NARATHIWAT, Dec 26 — Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha on Friday told southerners that there must not be war weapons in deep South as bloody violence in the region has been continuing for almost 11 years now, even as Thailand is preparing to enter the ASEAN Community (AC).

Gen Prayut, on his first trip to the South after becoming prime minister in September, was welcomed by people including Tak Bai district officer Somsak Sithiworakarn.

Mr Somsak briefed him on the ongoing heavy rainfall in the district that so far 4,432 families have been affected, 174 houses damaged and 13,191 rai of farmland is under water, considered  the worst flooding in Tak Bai district in the past 47 years.

Gen Prayut then responded that his government is prepared to assist the people in the South in both short- and long-term.

In the short-term, the government would speed up paying money to flood victims while it has already laid out plans for long-term, but everybody must cooperate.

“Peace must prevail in the region. No fighting with officials and negotiations must be held to find the solution so that development plan could be made under the 2015 -2020 strategy which called for security for the country and people become wealthy on a sustainable basis,” said Gen Prayut.

Renewed bloody violence in the deep South has been continuing since January 2004.

He said development in the country has been stalled a great deal in the past and now it is time for it to march forward.

What the government would do is to create peace in the South and other provinces where there would be no use of war weapons as the country must be ready to enter the Asean Economic Community.

The community is scheduled to be implemented at end of 2015.

Regarding the current falling prices of rubber, Gen Prayut said rubber planters must not protest because his government has mapped out measures to assist them.

Six or seven large rubber-processing plants will be set up to increase rubber value while more factories would be established in the economic special zones, he said, adding that people should cooperate with the government. “I just work without asking for anything and I’ve my heart for everybody,” Gen Prayuth said.