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Thai PM Says No to Negotiations With Muslim Separatists


Thailand's prime minister says his government will not negotiate with Muslim separatists in the country's south.

Thaksin Shinawatra was responding to a reported offer of talks from a group called the Pattani United Liberation Organization.

A man claiming to represent that organization told an interviewer in Sweden earlier this week that the group would drop demands for southern independence in return for peace talks with the Thai government.

Mr. Thaksin says his government will continue its emergency rule in the Muslim-majority south - including the use of wiretaps, searches and seizures, censorship and detention - in an effort to break the cycle of violence in the region.

The violence in southern Thailand, mainly in the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, has claimed more than one thousand lives since January of last year.

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