23 May 2024

Peace negotiators, representing the Thai government and a separatist group, ended their first day of talks in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon (Tuesday).

A Thai PBS news team reports that they will resume tomorrow. It was the first peace dialogue between the two sides in more than year.

The session was held at a hotel in the Malaysian capital and the first to be chaired by Gen Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, a former chief of the Malaysian armed forces who was recently appointed as the new facilitator by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Leading the Thai delegation to the talks is Gen Wallop Raksanoh, a former secretary general of the National Security Council, while Anas Abdulrahman heads the delegation from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

Neither side was willing to discuss the contents of their talks with the media. Informed sources said, however, that the two sides will try to use the forum to find ways to reduce violence in strife-torn southern Thailand, while exploring long-term solutions to the conflicts that have claimed thousands of lives. They are also expected to discuss how to consult with local communities.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar said during his visit to Bangkok two weeks ago that Kuala Lumpur is committed to helping Thailand resolve the conflicts in the region.