Swedish Offer to Mediate in Thailand Rejected

The Thai government has rejected an offer from Sweden to try and mediate a peace deal in the strife-torn south of Thailand.
         In line with the government’s iron-fisted approach to tackling the insurgency in the south, Defense Minister General Thammarak Isarangura Na Ayutthaya said that dialogue was not an option.
         Lars Danielsson, deputy minister of the Swedish prime minister’s office, had said that if requested, Sweden would be willing to help broker a peace agreement between the Thai government and southern separatist groups to end the bloodshed that has claimed almost 1,100 lives in two years.
         “We will be happy to be a facilitator if there is a request from the Thai government, but we have not received any signals of this yet,” Danielson said during a visit to Bangkok last week.
         Sweden, which has a history of mediating in separatist conflicts, is home to a number of exiled leaders of Thai secessionist groups, including Lukman Lima, the acting head of the Pattani United Liberation Organization (PULO).

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