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Thailand opens talks with Muslim rebels

Thailand opens talks  with Muslim rebels
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The Thai government inked an agreement to start talks with BRN last month in Malaysia during a visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Kaula...

The Thai government inked an agreement to start talks with BRN last month in Malaysia during a visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra thailandKaula Lumpur (AP): Thai authorities and Muslim separatist leaders on Thursday started peace talks aimed at ending almost a decade of unrest in the country's far south, as a fresh attack by suspected militants killed three Thai soldiers. Thailand's National Security Council secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr said the first meeting with the rebels led by the National Revolution Front, also known by its acronym BRN, will focus on "developing relationship and trust." The talks are being held inMalaysia. Violence has occurred nearly every day in Thailand's Muslim-dominated three southernmost provinces since the insurgency erupted in 2004, and more than 5,000 people have been killed. The militants have mainly targeted security forces and teachers, who are seen as representatives of the government of the predominantly Buddhist nation. Muslims in the region, which was an independent Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century, have long complained of discrimination by the Central government in Bangkok, and the insurgents are thought to be fighting for autonomy. But the insurgency remains murky, with militants making no public pronouncements on their goals. The Thai government inked an agreement to start talks with BRN last month in Malaysia during a visit by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Malaysia, which borders Thailand's restive southern provinces, is acting as a facilitator to bring some of the insurgents to peace talks.
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