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Deep South peace talks haven’t stalled, says negotiator

Nov 01. 2017
General Aksara Kerdphol
General Aksara Kerdphol
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By The Nation

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General Aksara Kerdphol, Thailand's lead negotiator in peace talks with rebel groups in the deep South, insisted on Wednesday that the talks were still ongoing, not totally halted as some had speculated.

He also urged media members not to become “megaphones” for separatists who resort to violence to pressure the Thai government.

Aksara said the talks since 2015 had achieved some agreements towards the establishment of safety zones.

Thai officers had also learnt about the rebel groups’ attitude and context via the talks and other unofficial communication channels with facilitation from the Malaysian government.

“As of present, there is no issue that would cause the talks to halt,” he said, adding that the talks so far were still in the phase of creating trust. This was to convince those separatists who disagreed with the Thai state and who remained undecided to believe that the talks could lead to the end of violence and the restoration of peace in the deep South.

Aksara remarked that both sides of the talks wanted people to co-exist with dignity and equality amid cultural and lifestyle diversity.

He also insisted that there was no credible information that identified an individual or particular group as having true access to the separatist movement people. Hence, any previous news about the structure and strategies of any separatist group was likely to have come from analysis of information obtained from interviews or news reports.

He said information provided by people who were arrested and brought into custody might be “adjusted” and might not reveal all the facts.

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