Yingluck tells security officials to consider BRN peace-talk conditions
PRIME MINISTER Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday told a high-profile meeting of security agencies to seriously consider a list of five demands made by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).
It is the first time the administration has asked officials to seriously consider the demands - considered very difficult to accept by the Thai government - since they were first raised during the peace dialogue between the insurgent representatives and Thai authorities.
Yingluck gave her order at a Defence Ministry meeting, which she chaired for the first time as defence minister. Her move came after Paradorn Patthanatabutr, secretary-general of the National Security Council, repeated the BRN's five preconditions. The chief negotiator said Yingluck wanted the peace dialogue to continue, with Malaysian authorities serving as the facilitator. The prime minister's comment appears to indicate that she is not fully aware of the insurgents' first demand: that Malaysia's role in the talks be changed from "facilitator" to "mediator". Yingluck was quoted by Paradorn as saying that Malaysia should continue to be part of the process as facilitator.
The four other demands made by the insurgent group are: for the dialogue to continue on behalf of the Pattani Malayu people led by the BRN; for observers from Asean, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and NGOs to be present; for all detained insurgents to be released unconditionally; and for the BRN to be recognised as liberators, not separatists.
Paradorn said there would be another round of meetings with the BRN, with Hassan Taib as the key negotiator, despite unconfirmed reports that he was considering giving up his role and of the BRN quitting the peace process.
The meeting also appointed key figures to positions attached to a new coordination centre working on various measures to end the violence in the deep South. Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog was made the centre's head and two ministers his deputies. Three other ministers were tasked with handling integration, security, public health and justice under this new centre.
The Internal Security Operations Command's forward base in the deep South said it would need more life-protecting and bomb-disposal equipment for security operations and more security cameras in seven key business areas in the region.
A total of 1,672 newly enlisted police have been deployed in the region in place of 14 Army platoons and 54 Army paramilitary rangers squads that have been withdrawn. A group of 900 civil defence volunteers will also be deployed in October.