Thai, Malay teams to discuss southern peace talks preparation mid-month

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BANGKOK, Dec 3 — Thailand’s southern peace negotiation team will discuss the peace process preparation with Malaysia, as negotiation facilitator, in mid-December before meeting with the southern border insurgents.

Gen Aksara Kerdpol, chief adviser to the Army and leader of the Thai negotiation team, said Thailand would have up to 15 members and the 4th Army Region Commander was just included.

Later this month, the team will discuss negotiation details with the Malaysian facilitators. The southern insurgent groups, however, have not informed him of their negotiators. If he receives the information, he will deploy relevant negotiators.

Gen Aksara said that the Thai negotiation team would consist mainly of representatives of the National Security Council, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the 4th Army Region.

He will select other negotiators according to their duties and responsibilities.

Deputy Defence Minister and Army chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr said Gen Aksara would quickly finish preparations for the peace negotiations. He said he would review the five proposals of the Barisan Nasional Revolusi (BRN) insurgent movement as many of them were unacceptable.

ISOC spokesman Col Banpot Poonpien said the Thai negotiation team would include local officials, relevant academics and experts and include a peace specialist.

He said the peace negotiation process was divided into three phases: the first to build mutual trust, the second to work out a code of conduct to reduce confrontation and end violence and the third to agree a roadmap to end conflicts peacefully.