The Thai authorities on Monday rejected demands by the southern Muslim separatists in their second round of talks, but both sides agreed to hold another meeting on June 13.
National Security Council secretary general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut, who headed the Thai side in the dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), said that the demands raised by the group’s liaison officer Hasan Taib were turned down by the authorities.
Paradorn, speaking to reporters after the meeting that lasted almost seven hours, said the Thai authorities would not agree whether to consider the demands by the BRN.
The five proposals were made on Sunday via a YouTube video message by key BRN leaders.
In the YouTube clip, Taib and another BRN leader Abdul Karim Khalib demanded that:
- Malaysia’s role be upgraded to mediator in the ongoing peace dialogue, from merely facilitator as is currently the case,
- Only BRN-represented members take part in the process,
- Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or NGOs observe the next round of meetings,
- All suspects detained for terror attacks be released and all warrants revoked, and
- The BRN be recognised wholly as a liberator, not a separatist organisation.
Paradorn said on Monday that the Malaysian authorities insisted that they would still act as facilitator.
He also said the Thai side asked the BRN leaders taking part in the talk to make sure that their group’s insurgency agents would end their violent attacks in the southern border region.
Both sides agreed to meet again on June 13, according to Paradorn.