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Three Pulo factions to join peace talk

The three factions in the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) would join the talks between the National Security Council (NSC) and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), a national security agency source said yesterday.

Malaysia managed to get Pulo representatives to join the dialogue. The source said: "Pulo is divided into three factions. One is led by Kasturi Mahkota [who had previously told the media he was ready to join the dialogue]. The other is led by Samsuding Khan and another is led by Lukman Bin Lima.

"Datuk Zamzamin talked to the three groups to get them join the dialogue. Pulo will be given two seats on the dialogue table."

The source said NGO representatives, various experts and the Barisan Islam Pembebasan Patani would also attend the talks.

Meanwhile NSC chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabutr said he had received news that Zamzamin would meet the Malaysian and Thai media but he didn't know what would be discussed.

Asked if the development guaranteed there was still dialogue between the sides, Paradorn said the dialogue had been suspended due to Thailand's internal political conflict but would eventually resume.

The February 28, 2013, signing of the memorandum of understanding for peace dialogue was followed by three official sessions on March 29, April 28 and June 13.

An agreement to reduce violence in the far South last year during the holy month of Ramadan (July-August) stemmed from the dialogue but it wasn't clear if the violence was reduced.

There were attempts to set up another session but it was postponed due to a lack of preparedness on both sides, until it was indefinitely postponed due to Thailand's political conflict.

The BRN issued a statement in early December 2013, stating it was quitting the dialogue because Thailand didn't table the BRN's five-point demand and 38-page explanation for Parliament's consideration, or put the matter on the national agenda.

Hassan Taib, the then leader of the BRN team attending the talks, read the statement on YouTube on December 1, 2013, and referred to himself as the former leader of the team.

He urged Thailand to get Parliament's approval to put the matter on the national agenda immediately.

Taib has not been seen in public since then, leading to speculation that the Malaysian authorities or the BRN had ordered him to keep a low profile.

A deep South region development agency source said Taib wasn't detained but he wanted to cut his role during the suspension of the dialogue. It remains unclear if Taib will still lead the separatist group's team in future sessions.

Ahmad Zamzamin bin Hashim, also known as Datuk Zamsamin, a Malaysian facilitator for the peace dialogue in the deep South, is expected to brief the media this month about the progress of the talks and their future direction.The source said Zamzamin, a former director of Malaysia's intelligence agency, planned to hold a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on February 24 before flying to Chiang Mai for another press conference on February 25.

Zamzamin is expected to brief deep South media tomorrow.






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