A Thailand-based separatist group said yesterday it would join the peace talks with the government only if they are conducted formally according to international standards and norms.
“However, such a peace process must be dignified and sincere in its pursuit of peace, not a peace process used as a form of political subterfuge in order to deceive and undermine the strategy of the Patani-Malay people,” Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani (BRN) said in a statement.
The dialogue must also include mediators and observers from other nations, said the group, which the government accuses of orchestrating the current wave of violence in deep South. The group said it did not reject the peace negotiations but was prepared to achieve reconciliation through peaceful means.
With the facilitation of Malaysia, the Thai government has assigned General Aksara Kerdphol to lead its team, while a group of Muslim Malays calling themselves MARA Patani surfaced recently to also become a party to the talks with Thai authorities.
The parameters of the formal discussion has not yet been established. The BRN said it would not get involved in the meetings brokered by Malaysia.
In 2013, talks collapsed when the Thais could not find legitimate partners with whom to negotiate.