General Aksara Kerdphol, Thailand’s lead negotiator in peace talks with rebel groups, assures that continued violence in the deep South would not hamper the talks.
But, hardcore separatists who resort to violence, drastic military action will be dealt with them along with legal prosecution, he said.
Gen Aksara’s comment came two days after multiple bombings in Yaha district of Yala province which killed two officers and injured 27 others on Sept 14.
Gen Aksara said in the latest round of “technical talks” with representatives of the MARA Patani on Sept 11-12, the Thai side expressed sincerity and readiness to move forward with the establishment of safety zones and with other pressing issues.
However, the talks did not reach any conclusion on the safety zones as MARA Patani was not ready to press ahead with the issue, according to Gen Aksara.
According to BenarNews Agency, the technical talks, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, focused on efforts to bring about a limited ceasefire in certain districts of Thailand’s southernmost provinces.
Gen Aksara said although it would take some time for the safety zones to be materialised, it is the duty of the government to ensure safety for the people in the restive region, he said.
He added that public safety is the priority of the government and will come ahead of other numerous development projects that are planned in the southern areas to ease violence and reduce loss of lives in the south.
The Thai lead negotiator said he would continue his effort in solving violence in the deep South through peace talks although it would take a long time before the rebel groups agree to cooperate with the Thai government and local people in establishing the safety zones.