News / Asia

Thailand Agrees to Hold Talks with Muslim Insurgent Group

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, left, and her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak pose for photographers after their joint press conference at the latter's office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 28, 2013.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, left, and her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak pose for photographers after their joint press conference at the latter's office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 28, 2013.
VOA News
Thailand for the first time has agreed to hold peace talks with a major Muslim rebel group, marking a potential breakthrough in efforts to end nearly 10 years of violence in the country's south.

Senior Thai officials and representatives of the National Revolution Front meeting in the Malaysian capital on Thursday signed an agreement to start a dialogue process that will begin in two weeks.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who met with her Malaysian counterpart in Kuala Lumpur later Thursday, said she welcomes the talks.

"The Thai authorities are willing to engage in a process of inclusive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders and groups concerned to address root causes of the problems, in accordance with the state administration and development policy for the southern border provinces and within the framework of the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand," she said.

The National Revolution Front

  • Also known as Barisan Revolusi Nasional
  • Operates in southern Thailand
  • Formed in 1963, it split into three factions
  • Aimed to establish a pan-Malay republic
  • Ideology described as Islamic socialist
The Malaysia-based National Revolution Front is just one of several armed insurgent groups fighting for greater autonomy in Thailand's mainly Muslim south. It is yet to be seen whether the other groups would agree to the talks.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Thursday's agreement is only the start of the peace process.

"Let us hope that all parties will respect the process and not do anything untoward in the southern provinces that would undermine and jeopardize the peace process," he said.

Map of MalaysiaMap of Malaysia
x
Map of Malaysia
Map of Malaysia
The area has been wracked by a bloody insurgency that escalated in 2004 and has taken the lives of around 5,000 people - mostly civilians from both ethnic Thai Buddhist and Malay Muslim communities.

Thai authorities declared a state of emergency in 2005, granting the military wide powers of arrest and detention. But the emergency law has also triggered allegations of rights abuses by security forces.

Many in the south complain of discrimination by the central government.  Calls by moderate Islamic groups and human rights organizations for a decentralization of power have been dismissed by security officials, who say such moves threaten national unity.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid