World Bulletin / News Desk
Thailand said on Thursday talks were under way with members of insurgent groups in Muslim south of the country.
Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces were part of a Malay Muslim sultanate until occupied by Buddhist Thailand a century ago, and pro-independence moves have arised ever since.
The government has ruled out peace talks in the past, most recently in April, but Yutthasak Sasiprapa, a deputy prime minister in charge of security in the south, confirmed there had been a change of heart.
"Right now we are holding peace talks with different insurgent groups but we are still not clear what they want," he told reporters.
The Southern Border Provinces Administration Center, a government agency in charge of security operations in the south, said talks were being held with current and former members of groups active in the region.
Under pressure from the public to come up with solutions to the conflict, the government at first seemed to want to concentrate on suppressing the insurgency, setting up a new command centre last month to oversee operations.
Yutthasak said the government was liaising with two main insurgent groups but that talks were not yet at the negotiation stage.
Local Muslims largely oppose the presence of tens of thousands of police, soldiers and state-armed Buddhist guards in the rubber-rich region and many suspect the authorities of carrying out extrajudicial killings.
More than 4,000 people have been killed since a decades-old pro-freedom movement in 2004 in the mainly Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, which border Malaysia.
Indian, Afghan leaders pledge to fight armed groups, build trade
– Afghan authorities struggling to reach landslide victims in remote northern village
Five organizations have sent more than 70 disaster experts to quake-hit nation
Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region was hit by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, with the epicenter close to the border with Tajikistan.
Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso set to face execution in Indonesia as early as late Tuesday.
The changes, which strengthen Japan's role in missile defense, mine sweeping and ship inspections, are the first revisions in 18 years to the rules that govern U.S.-Japan defense cooperation.
Raji Sukumaran, Myuran Sukumaran's mother said after visiting her son, he will be executed by an Indonesian firing squad at midnight for drug trafficking
Appeals court convicts Lee Joon-seok of homicide over deaths of 304 passengers, overturning lower court’s 36-year sentence.
The first update of the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines since 1997, the revisions will reflect the biggest change in Japanese security policy in decades.
A new earthquake following Saturday's earthquake in Nepal has occurred in India
China new draft allows foreign NGOs to open branch. The first draft barred foreign NGOs from activities that violate "Chinese society's moral customs" and from setting up branches in China under any circumstances.
Lawyer for Australians in Indonesia told Indonesia's Constitutional Court has agreed to consider a last-ditch legal challenge brought by two Australian death row convicts
Aid agencies increasingly concerned about lack of access to clean water, sanitation in earthquake aftermath.
Officials said hundreds of Taliban members had attacked police and army checkposts in the province of Kunduz, President Ashraf Ghani to delay a state visit to India.
Allegations were made regarding the Indonesian judges request for money to alter death sentences