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28 Feb, 2013

Malaysia Brokers Another Deal To Help Bring Peace to Southeast Asia


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 (Bernama) — In yet another drive for regional peace and stability, Malaysia successfully initiated a general consensus treaty that was signed today between the Thai government and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), a southern Thailand Muslim insurgency group.

The treaty, which is to pave the way for a dialogue process for peace in the border provinces of southern Thailand, was signed by both parties at the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Jalan Semarak, here.

It was Malaysia’s second effort in helping to bring about regional stability in Southeast Asia, after having successfully initiated the historic peace agreement for Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

At the signing today, the Thai government was represented by Thailand’s National Security Council secretary-general Lt Gen Pharadorn Phatthanatabutr and the rebel side was represented by the chief of the BRN Liaison Office in Malaysia, Hassan Taib.

The signing was witnessed by Malaysia’s National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab.

Others present were Thailand’s Defence Ministry deputy permanent secretary Gen Nipat Thonglek, Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre secretary-general Col Tawee Sodsong and Thailand’s Special Branch commissioner Lt Gen Saridchai Anakevieng.

BRN was also represented by its Foreign Relations Office secretary Awang Jabat, Ulama Affairs chief Abdullah Sawa and Internal Security Division chief Abdul Rahman Jabat. Malaysia’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar were also present at the ceremony.

Speaking to reporters, Mohamed Thajudeen said Malaysia played the role of facilitator in working towards the treaty and that the details would be provided in Putrajaya.

Najib, in his talks with the Thai authorities, had expressed the willingness to help bring an end to the long-running insurgency in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. He reportedly said that Malaysia was willing to act as a broker in the process.

It has been reported that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since the insurgency erupted there in 2004. (BERNAMA)

MCOT Online News report

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28  – Thailand today entered an historic agreement with an insurgent group in the Muslim-predominant far South in the country’s first concrete attempt towards a peace process in the strife-torn region.

Thai National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabutr signed the “general consensus document to launch a dialogue process for peace” with Hassan Taib, chief of the liaison office of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) in Malaysia, shortly before a visit by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the Malaysian capital today.

Barisan Revolusi Nasional, which in Malay means National Revolutionary Front, is one of several groups blamed for the violence in southern Thailand.

Lt-Gen Paradorn said the agreement was a result of earlier talks between Ms Yingluck and her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, after which the Thai and Malaysian security chiefs were assigned to jointly find measures for peace in southern Thailand.

Various Muslim militant groups are keen to hold peace talks with the Thai authorities and several other groups should follow after today’s breakthrough, he said.

Gen Paradorn stood firm that there were no pre-conditions by the BRN group in today’s agreement and future talks with other groups will be held in the next few weeks. Today’s deal will be a stepping stone for the peace process and the development of Thailand’s three southern border provinces, the Thai NSC chief said.

Narathiwat Governor Apinan Sutanuwong expressed optimism that the agreement will encourage the insurgent group to send signals to other militant movements in an attempt to end the nearly a decade-old insurgency in the far South.

PM Yingluck said peace talks between Thai officials, insurgent leaders will be held within Thai constitutional framework to address root causes of unrest. The Malaysian PM said after meeting Thai PM that Thai officials, insurgent representatives will hold first meeting in Malaysia within two weeks.