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Thailand to Lay Down Own Conditions at BRN Peace Talks

Three paramilitary rangers were killed and one wounded in an attack by gunmen in Pattani on Thursday. 
Security agencies are refusing to commit to demands made by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) for peace talks and are preparing their own list of conditions, to be presented to the separatist movement representatives at their next meeting, tentatively set for late October.The Centre for Implementation of Policies and Strategies for Solving the Southern Problem on Thursday for the first time discussed the BRN's five demands formally forwarded to Thailand in writing through the Malaysian facilitator weeks ago.
Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)National Security Council (NSC) chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said after the meeting that the conditions had not been fully thrashed out and would be further discussed by the various agencies involved.They included the NSC, Internal Security Operations Command, Foreign Ministry, Council of State, Office of the Attorney-General and Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre. The centre has been assigned to hold talks with southern opinion leaders to sound out their reactions. Lt Gen Paradorn said he expected things would be sorted out and agreement reached in time for the next meeting with the insurgent group probably, according to him, on Oct 20 or a date on the third week of next month.The meeting on Thursday was moved forward from Friday as officials needed more time to study the BRN's demands, made in 34 pages written in English and then translated into Thai.
The NSC-led negotiators would meet the BRN representatives and make their own demands, including that separatists stop their tactic of airing their conditions "on air''.All communications should be through the proper channels, he said.The Thai delegation would also challenge them to demonstrate progress in reducing violence on the ground in the southernmost provinces, the NSC chief told reporters.
The BRN released their demands on YouTube on May 23 and later made other demands on the social network. Another key issue at the next meeting was to assess the situation during Ramadan, which concluded in August, when the BRN had promised to reduce violence in the far South during the Muslim holy month. Before the meeting on Thursday, the NSC chief and Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnok reiterated the Thai position, saying Thailand has not accepted the BRN's demands. Any acceptance of any of the demands in the future could not be turned into prompt action either, Lt Gen Paradorn said. He indicated that a call to release all detained suspects and those facing arrest warrants on national security charges could be a stumbling block, as it involves legal procedures and no state interference in the judicial process once the cases are sent to court.
Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut and his talks team 
The BRN also called on the government to recognise that it represents the rights of the "Melayu Patani nation" in the peace dialogue, to accept Malaysia as a mediator, to bring in other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and non-governmental organisations to witness the meetings, and to accept that Malayu Patani people have rights over Pattani land. Meanwhile, security forces remain targets for insurgents.
Three paramilitary rangers were killed and one wounded in an attack by gunmen in Pattani on Thursday. (Photos by Abdulloh Benjakat)
Three paramilitary rangers were killed and one wounded in Pattani's Yarang district on Thursday.The attack occurred about 11.30am when six rangers from Ranger Company 2208 were repairing the roof of a villager's house in Binya village, part of a win hearts and minds operation. Seven or eight armed men arrived at the house in a black Toyota pick-up truck and opened fire at the soldiers.The rangers reached for their guns and returned fire. The gunfight lasted about five minutes.Three of the rangers were killed and one wounded in the clash. The attackers fled with two weapons stolen from the dead soldiers.
Attacks have claimed the lives of 10 members of the security forces in the last three days, eight in Pattani and two in Yala.
A total of 317 policemen have been killed since separatist violence erupted afresh in the southern border region in January 2004.



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