Thai govt says two blasts in south won't derail peace talks

Thai govt says two blasts in south won't derail peace talks

The government said on Sunday that a sidelined insurgent group claimed responsibility for the attacks, and that Ramadan bombings in Thailand's Muslim-majority deep south will not derail peace talks with separatist rebels.

Two explosions on Friday killed a civilian and injured three policemen, were carried out by G 5 a militant group of the Patani United Liberation Organisation PULO, its president, Kasturi Mahkota, told Reuters.

PULO has been excluded from the talks between the Bangkok and the Barisan Revolusi Nasional BRN which agreed two weeks ago to stop violence during the Muslim holy month through May 14.

Since 2004 more than 7,300 people have been killed in the fighting between the government and shadowy groups seeking independence for the Malay-Muslim provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and parts of Songkhla. The area was part of the Patani sultanate that Thailand annexed in a treaty with Britain in 1909.

The truce agreement with the BRN remains in effect, and government negotiators condemned the violence in an email to Reuters on Sunday. Co-ordinates from both sides were working closely to prevent others from spoiling the talks, they said.

The bringing together of groups for the peace dialogue is an internal matter for the other side, and the Thai team is ready to talk to all groups, according to the government delegation.

The talks are looking for a political solution to the decades-long conflict under the framework of the Thai constitution. Since beginning in 2013 the talks have been disrupted. The latest round started in 2019.

Kasturi told the PULO on Saturday that the talks are not inclusive enough and that it is going too fast. The insurgent group objected to the agreement that would exclude the possibility of independence from Buddhist-majority Thailand.