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Malaysia's Mahathir pledges to help end violence in Thai south

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Malaysia's Mahathir pledges to help end violence in Thai south

 

2018-10-24T134250Z_1_LYNXNPEE9N16T_RTROPTP_4_THAILAND-MALAYSIA.JPG

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attend a news conference at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promised on Wednesday to do what could to bring peace to neighbouring Thailand's insurgency-plagued south.

 

Parts of the south of majority-Buddhist Thailand are mostly Muslim, including the three provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani where a decades-old separatist insurgency has killed more than 7,000 people.

 

"We pledge to help in whatever way possible to end this violence in the south," Mahathir, 93, told reporters after meeting Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on his first visit to Thailand since his stunning win in May's general elections.

 

"It is not just the case of talking or drawing up treaties, it is really a cooperation between two friendly neighbours and we want to continue that friendship," Mahathir said.

 

Muslim-majority Malaysia has helped to arrange peace talks between successive Thai governments and insurgent groups, but little progress has been made so far.

 

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-10-25

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Prayut, Mahathir agree to move forward together on southern insurgency

By Kas Chanwanpen 
The Nation

 

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Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (R) and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad listen to a question during a joint press conference at the Government House in Bangkok on October 24, 2018./AFP

 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday assured his visiting Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad that the peace dialogue in the deep South will continue and that Malaysia will continue playing the role of facilitator.
 

However, Prayut said, the dialogue will only be carried out within the framework of Thailand’s Constitution.

 

The two premiers met at Government House and the highlight of the meeting was the violence-wracked deep South.

 

Malaysia recently appointed its former national police chief, Abdul Rahim Noor, as facilitator, while the Thai side has chosen former Fourth Army Region Commander Udomchai Thamsarorat to lead negotiations with MARA Patani.

 

Violence has rocked the predominantly Muslim region since early 2004 claiming over 7,000 lives so far, and dialogue with insurgent groups, initiated since 2013, has yielded no significant results.

 

At a press conference after the meeting, Prayut said that though the situation in the South was an internal matter, cooperation from Malaysia and other countries in the region would make resolving it easier.

 

He added that the discussion with Mahathir showed that both sides understand each other’s concerns and limitations.

 

Apart from cooperating in relation to the South, Prayut said the two countries will also work together on other issues, such as border security, economic development, measures to tackle broader security issues, particularly in countering terrorism, extremism and transnational crimes such as trafficking in drugs and humans.

 

Mahathir recalled the two neighbours’ history of strong cooperation, saying, “When Malaysia was facing the issue of terrorism before, Thailand helped in many ways to put an end to those activities.

 

“We are grateful to the Thai government and the Thai people.”

 

As for violence in the South, Mahathir pledged to do what is needed to help end it.

 

“I’m sure when the two countries sincerely work together to solve a problem, the problem will be [alleviated] if not ended altogether,” Mahathir said.

 

The two premiers also discussed trade and other means of cooperation within Asean.

 

Prayut said he proposed that both sides elevate economic cooperation to the level of enhanced strategic economic partnership, with an emphasis on border-area development, connectivity, trade and investment, as well as tourism.

 

Mahathir agreed, saying both countries have experienced a growth in bilateral trade, and it will grow further if they can cut down the bureaucracy and make it easier for goods and people to cross the border.

 

However, he admitted that human-trafficking was one of the problems at the southern border.

 

“More attention should be paid to this so the smuggling of goods and humans cannot happen,” he said. “We are very concerned about human trafficking. It has to stop. We will take action to stop the exploitation of Malaysia and Thailand [as transit points] to go to other places.”

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30357117

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-10-25

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I doubt it.  :coffee1:

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At 92, it seems to me Mahathir is trying to create a legacy for the history books. This could be a very good thing. 

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Lip service. Don't expect much progress. Both will be out of office soon. 

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

“When Malaysia was facing the issue of terrorism before, Thailand helped in many ways to put an end to those activities.

I believe he may be referring to the Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968-1989).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_insurgency_in_Malaysia_(1968–89)

As such that insurgency has no parallel to the Patani Malay Muslim insurgency.

With large majority religious populations, Thailand and Malaysia had common ground to fight communism.

6 hours ago, webfact said:

Violence has rocked the predominantly Muslim region since early 2004 claiming over 7,000 lives so far, and dialogue with insurgent groups, initiated since 2013, has yielded no significant results.

Yet in 2014 PM Prayut designated Malaysia as "The One" as the lead facilitator to get the Patani Malay Muslim insurgents to peace negotiations. But even back then the military refused to recognize BRN in any negotiations. And here we are today - no further than five years ago but more injuries and deaths.

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