Thailand’s new chief negotiator hopeful southern Thai peace process can resume

BANGKOK (Bernama) – General Wanlop Rugsanaoh, Thailand’s new lead negotiator for the peace talks involving the provinces in southern Thailand, is hopeful that process can resume next year to find solutions to end the decades-long conflict and restore peace in there.

General Wanlop, who was appointed as the new chief negotiator effective October 1, urged all groups even if they had differing views, including the armed wing of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), to join the negotiating table.

“We are coordinating with the Malaysian facilitator. We want all groups with different views talk to us. Malaysia will facilitate us.

“We want this to happen soon (talks under his leadership). (How soon?) there is a chance come the new year,” he told Bernama when contacted yesterday.

Malaysia has been facilitating the southern Thai peace talks between Bangkok and Majlis Syura Patani (Mara Patani). Former Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor is the facilitator to the peace process.

At Thailand’s request, General Wanlop said Malaysia has contacted some of the groups for talks.

“Malaysia is helping us… However, we do not know who they are yet. We are still waiting for confirmation,” he said.

He added that informal discussions were ongoing in and outside the country.