Demands by BRN to be discussed

national August 20, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Army to talk to security agencies about conditions for peace in South

THE MILITARY and security agencies have agreed to discuss seriously five conditions laid down by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional insurgency group for the southern peace dialogue to continue, after it came to light that the demands from BRN were put in a letter to the National Security Council in April, but not shared with other agencies.
Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha insisted on the military taking a tough stance against all five conditions after learning of them yesterday, said a source, who overheard him denouncing the document translated completely into English.
The Army, relying on a message posted on YouTube by the BRN, has said all along the five conditions either violated the Constitution or reflected or recognised the BRN’s separatist cause. 
The NSC is planning to contact the BRN through Malaysian authorities to set up an informal meeting to schedule the fourth round after both sides agreed to stop talking during the Ramadan holy month plus a few days. That period ended on Sunday. 
Major General Surachart Jitjaeng, a Defence Ministry spokesman, said Thai authorities needed to reach a consensus on the five BRN conditions before the next formal meeting began.
Surachart repeated the military’s opposition to two “unacceptable” conditions – unconditional release of convicted insurgents or detained suspects and recognition of this outlaw organisation as a liberator. 
“This latter condition means acceptance that the three southernmost provinces would one day be governed under a special administration,” he added.
The three other demands are for Malaysia to act as a mediator, not just a facilitator; the dialogue to continue on behalf of the Patani Malayu people led by the BRN; and observers from Asean, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and NGOs to be present during the talks. 
In the informal meeting, the NSC would also ask the BRN to provide information on who were responsible for several bomb attacks during the Ramadan truce. 
A meeting of the NSC, a new coordination centre and agencies that will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog is set for Thursday to discuss the five BRN demands.
A briefing in Narathiwat, which Prayuth attended, reported that six violent attacks occurred between the end of Ramadan and Sunday, which killed five security officials and wounded a few others. They included the bombing of a gas processing plant and ambushes on civilians and security escorts of teachers.