Prime Minister Mahathir arrives for talks with Gen Prayut

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the Royal Thai Air Force’s airbase and is greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. — Photo from Government House website

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia arrived in Bangkok this afternoon for a two-visit during which he will discuss with Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on ways to reactivate the stalled peace talks in southern Thailand.

Mahathir, who is accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking, was met at the Royal Thai Air Force’s airbase by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

It is Mahathir’s first visit to Thailand since making a political comeback in May this year.

Among the highlights of his talks with Thai authorities is the role Malaysia will play in the peace talks between the Thai Government and the Mara Patani, an umbrella group of various insurgent factions.   Mahathir is also accompanied on his trip by Abdul Rahim Noor, a former inspector general of Malaysian police who was recently appointed a new facilitator for the Malaysia-brokered peace talks.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that Mahathir’s visit was expected to “add momentum to the southern Thailand peace dialogue process.”

Mahathir will meet Gen Prayut this evening before holding a joint press conference.

Tomorrow, the 93-year-old Mahathir will meet Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, 98,  who is president of the Privy Council  and was prime minister of Thailand between 1980-1988, tomorrow before speaking at a public lecture titled “Malaysia-Thailand Bilateral Relations in the Context of Asean” at the Chulalongkorn University.


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