Pattaya Daily News

19 October 2006 :: 12:10:21 pm 29952

Thai PM pledges to end Southern unrest peacefully

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 - Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont reaffirmed on Wednesday that Thailand will resolve the unrest in its insurgency-plagued far South through peaceful means.
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            “Let me explain my personal strategy of trying to solve the problems in the south, by peaceful means,” Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said after talks with Malaysian leaders. 

            His pledge came as the violence in the region which has claimed more than 1,700 lives in almost three years continues unabated, despite the attempts towards peace by third parties such as former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mahamad, who has helped facilitate talks between the Thai authorities and insurgent leaders. 

            “We will try to talk to a lot of people. Initially I told the Malaysian prime minister that I will talk to the Muslim leaders in the south. So that is the way I’m trying to present myself, by way of talking,” Surayud said. 

            In a joint press conference after bilateral talks in Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia, the Thai premier assured the media that bilateral relations between the two neighbours will be further strengthened. 

            He emphasised that his interim government will adopt a peaceful approach in dealing with the unrest in Thailand’s Muslim dominant southern border region. 

            Suggestions from the Malaysian leader would be appreciated, Surayud said. 

            The Thai leader was on a one-day official visit to Malaysia, the third country in his round of regional visits since taking office on October 1. 

            Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said after meeting with Gen. Surayud that he hoped that peace will return to southern Thailand in the long run so that Thai Muslims can co-exist peacefully with people of other faiths. 

            Mr. Abdullah said Malaysia would not interfere with Thailand’s internal affairs, but that it was willing to give cooperation and discuss matters with the Thai leader by telephone in case any problem arises. 

            “For Malaysia, we would like to see southern Thailand as an area that is peaceful, where the Thais–many of whom are Muslims–will be able to live in peace without fear,” he said. 

            Malaysia is prepared to help, Mr. Abdullah reaffirmed, but has “no intention…to interfere” with what happens in Thailand. 

            Thai Government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp told journalists that the dramatic flight of 130 Thai Muslims who crossed into Malaysia more than a year ago was not discussed by the two leaders. 

            Gen. Surayud and his entourage–Defense Minister Gen. Bunrawd Somtat, Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram and Interior Minister Aree Wong-araya–are due to return to Bangkok late Wednesday evening.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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