Govern­ment dou­bles down on pro­posed Deep South safety zones

The Nation - - FRONT PAGE -

GOVERN­MENT ne­go­tia­tors would con­tinue to push for­ward the pro­posal to des­ig­nate safety zones in the Deep South, even though re­lated par­ties are not yet ready at this stage, said Gen­eral Ak­sara Kerd­phol, the coun­try’s chief ne­go­tia­tor for peace in the vi­o­lence-prone re­gion.

His re­mark fol­lowed the lat­est deadly bomb am­bush of se­cu­rity of­fi­cers last Thurs­day in the south­ern prov­ince of Yala. Ak­sara vowed to pur­sue strong le­gal ac­tions against those re­spon­si­ble for the at­tack.

He said the peace process takes time and its suc­cess de­pends on the readi­ness of all the par­ties con­cerned, es­pe­cially with re­gard to the pro­posed safety zones.

Dur­ing the Septem­ber 11-12 meet­ing, the Thai side ex­pressed their sin­cer­ity and readi­ness to en­force the pro­posal in co­op­er­a­tion with res­i­dents in the af­fected ar­eas, he said, adding that any fur­ther de­lay would hurt the lo­cal peo­ple’s in­ter­ests. De­spite the lack of a con­clu­sion on the best ap­proach to cre­at­ing safety zones, Thai au­thor­i­ties would con­tinue to push for­ward the peace process and adopt zon­ing mea­sure for the best in­ter­ests of res­i­dents in all 37 dis­tricts in the Deep South, Ak­sara said.

Mean­while, the Thai side would also con­tinue to work with all the other par­ties con­cerned to re­solve is­sues in the Deep South, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple lo­cal de­vel­op­ment projects to en­sure vi­o­lence and ca­su­al­i­ties are re­duced.

In the end, said Ak­sara, per­sis­tent ef­forts are ex­pected to pre­vail when all re­lated par­ties are ready to co­op­er­ate for peace in the re­gion. Ef­forts will move for­ward even though some par­ties have ex­trem­ist ide­olo­gies and re­sort to vi­o­lent means to achieve their goals, he said.

The govern­ment would con­tinue with strong le­gal and other counter-measures, he said.

Last Thurs­day, in­sur­gents planted three road­side bombs in Yala. The first bomb was used to lure se­cu­rity of­fi­cials to the scene, where they en­coun­tered them more pow­er­ful sec­ond and third bombs that re­sulted in two deaths and mul­ti­ple peo­ple in­jured.

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