Thailand’s peace talks with BRN militants postponed indefinitely

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BANGKOK, Oct 18 – Thailand has postponed indefinitely the next round of peace talks with a key militant group given escalating anti-government violence in the country’s far South, a senior official said today.

Charoon Ampha, National Security Commission (NSC) advisor, said the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) was told to find the causes behind the continued attacks in Thailand’s southern border provinces before the fourth round of peace dialogues can take place.

He said the BRN leaders were also asked to control dissidents in their group in light of their assurances that they could talk with those who disagreed with their peace approach.

October 25 marks the ninth anniversary of the Tak Bai incident – a tragedy which occurred after a protest by southern people against the detention of six men. Eight-five Muslim men were killed in the incident.

Col Charoon said the upcoming Tak Bai anniversary would determine if the BRN group has real control of their fellow militants.

A 15-member Thai security delegation has held three rounds of peace talks with 15 BRN representatives with Malaysia acting as the dialogue facilitator in the capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Defence Ministry spokesman Surachat Chitchaeng said a suspect in the 2005 murder of two marines in Narathiwat recently surrendered to the authorities.

Thailand’s Fourth Army Region Command recently launched a campaign urging suspectes insurgents to report to the authorities and turn themselves in as part of an attempt to solve the southern insurgency in a peaceful manner.