Thailand held its first formal peace talks with a rebel group from its insurgency-wracked south on Thursday, as a bombing killed three people in a stark reminder of the difficulties negotiators face.
The talks with representatives from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgent group, expected to last one day, will focus on reducing bloodshed, Thai National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said, warning the overall peace process would take time.
"Today's main focus is to reduce violence. Today we will focus on building mutual trust and good relations," Paradorn told reporters in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, where the meeting was being held.
"I am confident that they will communicate our message to their militants but because BRN is a large organisation we have to give them some time."
The insurgency in Thailand's southernmost Muslim-majority provinces, which border Malaysia, has been waged by a number of shadowy groups and killed more than 5,500 people over the past nine years.AFP