BANGKOK, Feb 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to revive a decade long peace negotiation in Southern Thailand during a four-eyed meeting with Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha tomorrow.
Anwar who is on his maiden two-day official visit to Thailand starting tomorrow, is expected to seek an avenue to expedite the peace process to ensure peace in Southern Thailand through a dialogue.
“We will leave the matter to be discussed by the two leaders during their meeting. Whilst discussing bilateral matters, both leaders will most certainly discuss issues that will benefit both parties,“ said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir during a press conference held in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s official visit to Thailand.
He was responding to a query as to whether Anwar would provide hope to resolve the long-standing conflict in Southern Thailand.
Malaysia has been the facilitator for the peace process that is aimed at resolving a decade-long conflict that escalated in January 2004 at Southern Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and parts of Songkhla.
Former Armed Forces General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin was appointed as the Malaysian government’s chief facilitator in the dialogue for truce in Southern Thailand effective January 1, 2023.
Discussions were held between the government and insurgents since 2013 but the talks came to a grinding halt when the army took control in Thailand a year later. Talks resumed without the involvement of the main parties, including Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).
General Wanlop Rugsanoah headed the panel for peace dialogue in the southernmost provinces in Thailand (PEDP).
Statistics based on the independent group Deep South Watch revealed that conflicts and violence in Southern Thailand that started in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla, has left over 7,000 people dead.