Representatives of the Thai government and a major separatist group ended their two days of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur today with an agreement to endorse a comprehensive peace roadmap “at the earliest opportunity,” according to a statement issued by the Malaysian facilitator of the negotiations.
It said the Thai peace delegation affirmed the Thai government’s readiness to create an environment conducive to bringing about peace in the three southern provinces of Thailand which have been ravaged by at least two decades of violence.
The statement provided no details but said measures to foster such environment will be discussed by a technical team to be set up by the two sides in February and March.
The statement was issued at the end of the two-day talks hosted by Malaysia. The Thai delegation to the meeting is headed by Chatchai Bangchuad, who is concurrently deputy secretary general of the National Security Council, while the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) is led by Anas Abdulrahman.
The two sides in the last round of talks in February last year discussed a peace roadmap known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan toward Peace (JCPP) which focuses on cessation of violence, public consultation with stake-holders, and finding a political solution to the decades-long conflict.
The statement said after two days of talks the two sides “agreed in principle on the JCPP which be endorsed at the earliest opportunity.”
The meeting, it said, also reaffirmed their commitment to involve stakeholders in the conflict in the peace dialogue. The statement did not specify who the stakeholders are but described them as “important drivers in bringing sustainable peace to the southern border provinces of Thailand.”
The statement also reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment as the facilitator for the peace process.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the BRN representatives expressed concerns over a series of legal action taken by Thai authorities in southern Thailand against Muslim activists which they said could exacerbate the conflict in the region.