Thai army chief ready for talks with rebels
The move comes as an abrupt policy change from the administration of ousted Prime Minister Shinawatra.india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 15:20 IST
The Thai army chief who staged last month's coup said on Thursday he has agreed to hold talks with rebel leaders in the restive south, an abrupt policy change from the administration of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in hopes of ending the bloody Muslim insurgency.
Gen Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, who led the bloodless against Thaksin on September 19, said that officials from certain rebel factions had contacted a top army commander and requested talks.
"I have agreed to the talks," Sondhi said.
"I stress that these will be talks not negotiations."
Thaksin's government, which came under harsh criticism for its strong-arm approach to the violence, had repeatedly declined to hold any talks with Muslim insurgents.