Government doubles down on proposed Deep South safety zones
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.