“Thailand’s government has agreed to start talks with a major Muslim rebel group, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country’s south that has claimed more than 5,000 lives since 2004.
The agreement was signed in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday between representatives of the Thai government and the National Revolution Front (BRN) rebels, ahead of talks between Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.
Yingluck was to meet later in the day her host, Malaysian prime minister, for annual talks set to include the nine-year unrest and the possibility of Malaysia hosting future Thai negotiations with the rebels.
BRN is one of several shadowy groups blamed for the unrest in Thailand. It remains to be seen whether other groups will fall in line.