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Last updateTue, 22 Nov 2016 12pm

New Government Breath Of Fresh Air For Thai Peace Process

PATTANI, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- The peace process in southern Thailand is expected to get a breath of fresh air with the setting up of the new Thai government, and Malaysia is said to be playing the role of facilitator.

However, there is no guarantee that the violence associated with the separatist groups will cease.

Internal Security Operation Command Region 5 deputy director Maj Gen Nakrob Bunbuathong said the peace process was being prepared in deciding the form and way the negotiations would be carried out.

"The delegates will be appointed by the new Thai government," he said as a panelist at the International Conference on Communication, Conflict and Peace Processes (CCPP) which was organised by the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Songkhla Nakarin.

"We learned our lessons from the experiences of previous negotiations in drawing up the scope of the process this time," said Nakrob, who was the military representative at previous peace negotiations.

Currently, Nakrob is the strong man to decide the road map for the new government under the leadership of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.

He said the road map was clear and would be carried out in three stages, namely building trust between each other, signing the peace agreement and implementing the contents of the agreement.

Malaysia has again been given the mandate as facilitator based on the agreement signed on Feb 28, 2013, he added.

Nevertheless, he said, there was no guarantee the peace process would stop the violence.

"A peace process takes time and cannot guarantee the problem will end because it has yet to start under the new government," he said.

Nakrob was confident of a resolution if the peace process could be made a national agenda with all parties taking part, understanding the problems and having the same direction.

More than 600 people comprising researchers, lecturers and international organisations from Norway, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Malaysia attended the conference.

Deep South Watch senior editor Muhammad Ayub Pathan said all levels of society in southern Thailand wanted the new government to continue and make the peace process successful.

He said there was no way out to end the political conflict except via a peace negotiation process, and Muslims and non-Muslims wanted it to be continued.

"It will be beneficial to the Thai government and the Asian region if the new government is successful in the matter," he said.

He said the new government must consult civic bodies and the local people with full commitment and plan the process with transparency and sincerity.

"It is time for us to negotiate and not use violence and military strength," he said.

He said ideological differences did not mean that one must resort to violence in settling a problem as the differences could be discussed.

Civic bodies must also have a commitment rather than wait for the government to issue a road map, he added.

-- BERNAMA

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