World Bulletin / News Desk
Thailand and one of several Muslim groups will open talks in Kuala Lumpur in two weeks, Malaysia's prime minister said Thursday.
Najib Razak disclosed the news after talks with visiting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and following a deal signed earlier in the day by Thailand and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group to launch a peace process.
The agreement to launch peace talks was signed in Kuala Lumpur early Thursday by Lieutenant-General Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of Thailand's National Security Council, and Hassan Taib, a representative of the BRN.
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.
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.Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 17:27