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Last updateTue, 22 Nov 2016 12pm

Thai military expected to lead peace talks with southern insurgents

BANGKOK, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's newly-appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Tuesday that Malaysia wanted the Thai military to take the lead in peace talks with insurgents in Thailand's Deep South.

Malaysia seemingly wants the Thai military, or security authorities, to lead the negotiations as it is directly responsible, Prayuth was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying.

The army chief and junta leader said he had sent a personal representative to Malaysia to discuss the resumption of talks with southern separatists.

Since January 2004, separatist violence has recurrently rocked Thailand's Deep South, including three Muslim, ethnic-Malay dominated southern border provinces -- Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla.

Figures from the Thai military show that insurgent violence in the Deep South has left more than 5,900 people dead and 10,600 others injured during the past decade.

Previous talks between the already-deposed Yingluck government and insurgent groups led by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional started early last year, but stalled in October after five rounds.

The junta, or National Council for Peace and Order, has reportedly planned to set up an executive policy committee and a peace dialogue commission to resume peace talks with separatists in the far South, according to Akanit Muansawasdi, a member of the post-coup interim legislature.

As an advisor to the National Security Council, Akanit is tipped to be a candidate for the post of chief negotiator in the peace talks.

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