KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Thursday (February 28th) that Thailand and one of several rebel groups in its troubled Deep South will begin peace talks in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks, AFP reported.
The announcement followed a meeting Thursday with his visiting Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra, and the signing of a deal earlier in the day by Thailand and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) rebel group.
Yingluck said her country "wished to see a lasting solution in the southern border provinces", where more than 5,500 people have been killed in the nine-year insurgency.
"We need to move forward as soon as possible," she said during a news conference at the Malaysian government headquarters.
General Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of Thailand's National Security Council, and Hassan Taib, a representative of the BRN.
Analysts downplayed suggestions of any breakthrough, noting the splintered nature of the insurgents, a lack of concrete demands and Thailand's difficulty in finding people who represent the various insurgent groups.
The BRN, whose Malay name means "National Revolutionary Front", is one of the larger groups.