Both the form and style of the resignation notice by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) seemed predictable. It was done via YouTube video, illustrated by masked, armed men. For the BRN, that disrupts the first, brief commitment to peace talks with a metaphorical bang. The government is reluctant to admit the collapse of its only official meeting with separatists in decades of violence and conflict in the South.
Some five months of contact have produced little worth noting. The BRN's chief negotiator, Hassan Taib, issued five demands early on in the talks. There never was any meaningful discussion of them. Indeed, the government never actually acknowledged receiving the demands. There was a brief hope of a token ceasefire for Ramadan, but the very strange decision of the BRN to make unrealistic demands ensured no two-way truce would be possible.
In the end, then, these were the peace talks that never happened. Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut, the National Security Council chief, flew to Malaysia for five formal meetings with Mr Hassan. But the government never responded to either of the two sets of BRN demands. It also failed to issue any either, not an offer or a demand for peace.
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