Violence must subside if talks are to continue: Abhisit

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BANGKOK, June 7 – Thailand’s opposition leader today urged the government to make it clear to militant groups that unless the mounting violence in the insurgency-torn far South is reduced, there should be no further talks with militant groups.

Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva commented ahead of the third round of the peace dialogue between the Thai government delegation and the Berisan Revolusi Nasitional (BRN) insurgent group set for next week in Malaysia.

If the government stands firm that the June 13 talks must go ahead, Mr Abhisit said, it should clearly state that the talks must be held on condition that the continuing violence must subside rather than furthering the talks upon further losses of people’s lives.

The opposition leader said he had earlier suggested to Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung who supervises national security affairs that the talks should not resume if the violence reduction does not subside in the troubled region.

More than 5,000 people have been killed, including civilians and children, in nearly a decade long insurgency in the Muslim-majority southern border province of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.