Government’s monitoring exiled rebels in Europe: Thai Foreign Ministry

UPDATED: 19:57, May 23, 2007

The Thai Foreign Ministry has been closely monitoring the movements of Thais allegedly involved in Thailand‘s southern unrest in Europe, particularly in Sweden, ministry spokesman Tharit Chalungvat was quoted by local media as saying Wednesday.

The spokesman said that Thai embassies in Europe have
consistently reported about the movements of the suspected insurgents
to Thai security agencies, according to a report by Thai news network
The Nation.

At the cabinet meeting Tuesday, Sonthi Boonyaratkalin,
chairman of Thailand’s Council for National Security, instructed the
Foreign Ministry to solicit information about Thai nationals who have
resettled in Sweden and other European countries, following reports
linking some resettlers to violence in Thailand’s deep south.

Many of them used to live in Thailand’s neighbor Malaysia but later were expelled from the country for “misbehaving”, Sonthi said.

“The groups we have followed and reported back to Bangkok
include both the older generation of separatists such as members of the
Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO) and the new generation,”
Tharit told reporters.

Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram would meet his Swedish
counterpart Carl Bildt to discuss the matter on the sideline of the
Asia Europe Meeting in Hamburg, Germany next week, he said.

Although Stockholm would likely provide cooperation to monitor
the movements of Thai rebels, Tharit noted that “such cooperation would
be under legal restriction to protect their (the alleged insurgents’)
freedom of movement in accordance with Swedish laws.”

The ministry declined to give further details about the
suspected insurgents in exile in term of number, names, and known
activities in Europe.

Last year, the Thai government rejected an offer from Sweden to mediate peace deal in the south, the report said.

Insurgent violence has troubled the southernmost provinces of
Thailand, including Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala for more than three
years, with shootings, arsons and bombing attacks reported almost on
daily basis, and has left over 2,100 people dead in the region.

Source: Xinhua



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