The head of the Thai peace dialogue team Gen Aksara Kerdphol on Friday (March 23) allayed concern with the latest statement from MARA Patani, assuring that there is no conflict over the ongoing peace process between the two sides.
However, he said that MARA Patani, an umbrella organization of southern separatist groups in the Deep South, was concerned with certain statements and actions of the Forward Command of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 regarding the “Bring People Home” project and the declaration of 14 districts as safety zones by the commander of the Fourth Army Region, Lt-Gen Piyawat Nakwanich.
Gen Aksara was responding to the statement issued by Uztas Shukri Hari, head of MARA Patani Peace Dialogue Panel, earlier this morning.
He noted that the MARA Patani’s statement might be intended to communicate with the media to clarify some points which were raised by the media. He declined to comment whether the statement had anything to do with the term in office of Lt-Gen Piyawat who is due to retire at the end of September.
Gen Aksara reiterated that the two parties in the dialogue understood the peace dialogue process and both have been working cautiously.
In the statement issued today in Malaysia, MARA Patani contains four points:
1.The ongoing discussion between MARA Patani and the Thai government is still at the technical level. It has not been endorsed by the joint working group Peace Dialogue process (JWG-PDP), hence, all the agreements reached are not yet final.
2.MARA Patani is open to all views and recommendations from the people toward right to self-determination.
3.MARA Patani has confidence in the Thai peace dialogue team mandated by the Thai Prime Minister and we are convinced that has been adopted as the national agenda. However, the group is concerned over certain statements and actions by the 4th Army Commander that contradict the peace dialogue process.
4.MARA Patani is committed to solving the conflict through the current peace dialogue and would like to emphasize that the “Bring People Home” project and the alleged 14 safety zones districts as declared by the 4th Army Commander are not at all related to MARA Patani-Thai government peace dialogue process.