The Peace Dialogue agreement between the National Security Council and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) on Feb 28 has created a promising, though intricate, opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the southern conflict.
The Thai government side has acknowledged three key factors: The need for a political solution of an essentially political conflict, the dialogue partner BRN as an important actor of the Malay-Muslim movement, and the role of the Malaysian government as a facilitator. The BRN has acknowledged that any solution has to be found within the Thai constitution.
Both sides have taken significant risks with this agreement. The government has started a political process knowing well that it will be difficult to achieve a significant reduction of the violence soon and that this would expose them to severe criticism. The BRN has risked serious divisions within their own organisation and with other like-minded actors concerning how they assess the genuine preparedness of the Thai state to agree on a new political settlement for the deep South.
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