Thai political leaders urged to discuss administrative future of Malay-speaking region
A long-standing separatist movement from the Malay-speaking south, the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), has urged the Thai political leaders to discuss the administrative future of the Malay-speaking region with the exile groups, saying "vital issues are only subject to discussion through dialogue process and agreement".
In a statement to The Nation, Pulo‘s foreign affairs chief Kasturi Mahkota said suggested that it was concerned with the statements made by political and military leaders about the administrative future of the Muslim-majority south where an ongoing insurgency has claimed more than 2,300 lives since January 2004.
"With regards to what has been stated in the media by the Thai Minister of Defence about the terms like ‘Special Administration Region‘ (SAR), Autonomy or any other forms of self-determination, these vital issues are only subject to discussion through dialogue process and agreement. Most importantly, the true dialogue cannot be done through media," Kasturi said.
Pulo is said to be one of the exiled groups that has been carrying out "secret talks" with Thai authorities that could evolved into a "formal dialogue" with the Thai government, Thai security officers said.
Thai authorities are hoping that groups like Pulo could help bring an end to the ongoing violence but Bangkok is not certain as to what kind of concessions it is willing to make to exiled groups and insurgents on the ground.
Regarding to a recent statement from army chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin about the identity of the insurgents is still a mystery for the authorities, Kasturi suggested that if the "leaders of the liberation movements" would be willing to sit down with the junta chief for the dialogue. Kasturi said it was a matter of protocol and added that " All delegates to the dialogue forum should possess strong mandatory and be held unconditionally."
Source: www.nationmultimedia.com (2 Juli 2007)