11 July 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has appointed Chatchai Bangchuad, deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council, to head the government’s team in peace talks with the main insurgent group in Thailand’s restive south, Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

The negotiation team also includes the secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, as well as representatives of the Foreign Affairs and Justice ministriesand the Internal Security Operations Command.

With Malaysia acting as the facilitator, negotiations between Bangkok and the BRN have been on hold since February,after both sides reached a consensus on a roadmap towards a peace agreement.

The BRN suspended talks, pending the formation of a new Thai government after the May 14th general election.

Shortly after the Thai parliament elected Srettha as the new prime minister in August, however, southern insurgents launched coordinated attacks in Yarang district of Pattani province. Two police officers and two members of a provincial security detail were killed and four other police officers were injured.

According to the Crisis Group, the suspension of peace talks by the BRN reflects internal discord over the dialogue, with the group’s military wing sceptical of the roadmap’s design and objectives, raising the prospect of the group splintering,which would undermine prospects for peace.