There is a striking similarity in this story to the peace talks between jihadists and the government of the Philippines, which recently fell apart and returned directly to calls for jihad. One cannot help but wonder, when aware of Islamic history and teachings regarding truces (hudna), whether this will truly lead to a lasting peace, or just buy time.
“Thailand: Govt and Muslims agree to end southern conflict,” from AdnKronos International, September 22:
Bogr, West Java, 22 Sept. (AKI/Jakarta Post) – Indonesia-mediated peace talks between the Thai government and representatives of the Muslim community in southern Thailand concluded on Sunday with a commitment to ending years of conflict that have claimed 2,700 lives.
The two sides pledged to resume negotiations in November at the same location in Bogor, West Java, to find ways to meet the Muslim group’s demands for justice, economic development and use of the Malay language in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces – Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala – while maintaining Thailand’s territorial integrity.
Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said the second round of negotiations would take place on Nov.1 and 2, and the third round in mid-November.
“Both sides have agreed that the settlement should be conducted peacefully through dialogue forums, and should be in line with the Constitution of Thailand,” Dino said at the State Palace.
The Thai government sent five negotiators, headed by Gen. Khwanchart Klahan, the supreme commander of the Southern Border Provinces Peace Building Command (SBPPC), which oversees the country’s southern provinces.
The country’s southern Muslims were represented by leaders of the Pattani Malay Consultative Congress (PMCC), an umbrella organization of insurgent groups in southern Thailand.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla acted as the mediator during the closed meetings. University of Indonesia political expert Fachry Ali and Paramadina University political expert Anies Baswedan were also in attendance at the talks.
Other notables included the Vice President’s political advisers, Johermansyah Johan and Farid Hussein, and Indonesian Ambassador to Thailand M. Hatta.
“We made substantial progress during the negotiations, with both sides expressing commitment to ending the conflicts,” Fachry told The Jakarta Post after the talks, held at the Bogor Presidential Palace.
Anies described the talks as a solid basis for the next negotiations, with representatives from both sides appreciating and willing to listen to each other.
“This is just the first encounter, so they have to adjust and feel comfortable. However, many of the lingering issues have been tabled,” he said.
Demands by Thai Muslims include the introduction of Islamic law and making ethnic Pattani Malay (Yawi) a working language in the region, as well as the improvement of the local economy and education system. […]
Anies stressed that the PMCC adequately represented Thai Muslims because it included representatives from most insurgent groups….