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BANGKOK: Thailand and one of several rebel groups in the country’s Muslim south will open peace negotiations in Malaysia on March 28 in an effort to end a bloody insurgency, a Thai official said yesterday.
Thailand and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) rebel group signed an agreement in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago, pledging to open talks on ending a nine-year insurgency by a number of shadowy groups that has claimed more than 5,500 lives.
Paradorn Pattanatabut, the head of Thailand’s National Security Council, said a preliminary meeting was held on March 5 on the “conditions” for the talks, but more substantive dialogue would begin with a one-day exchange on March 28.
“We will fly to Malaysia for the first talks with BRN and possible other representatives on March 28,” Paradorn said. “We aim to focus on what we should do to decrease violence in the south.” Paradorn did not specify who the other representatives could be or give further details on the planned talks hosted by Thailand’s southern neighbour. The BRN, whose Malay name means “National Revolutionary Front”, is one of the larger groups blamed for the violence, but it remains to be seen whether other rebel organisations will fall in line. AFP