Malaysia PM to discuss insurgency in visit to Thailand
BANGKOK (AP) — Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has begun a two-day visit to Thailand and is expected to discuss peace talks in Thailand’s southern border provinces where a Muslim separatist insurgency has been raging for over a decade.
Malaysia has been a facilitator between rebel groups and the Thai government but so far little progress has been made. Almost 7,000 people have died in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since 2004.
Don Pathan, a security analyst based in southern Thailand, says Malaysia has to be part of the dialogue because it has a stake in the border violence and most residents in the region identify as Malay Muslims.
He says time is running out for both Mahathir and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to reach a breakthrough in the negotiations with the rebels.