PM Meets with Buddhist and Muslim Leaders

August 13, 2005

Source: Reuters

On August 13, 2005 Reuters reported, "Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met Muslim and Buddhist leaders on a surprise visit on Saturday to the restive deep South, where more than 800 people have been killed in 20 months of violence.

Thaksin, who flew south after Thailand's queen issued a plea for peace on Thursday, said his government would work harder to end the bloody insurgency in the three southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia.

'We will continue to stress two guidelines -- to solve the education problem and social issues and law enforcement with the help of the people,' he told reporters after meeting local leaders in the southern town of Pattani.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang outlined on Wednesday far-reaching changes in schools in the Muslim south, home to most of mainly Buddhist Thailand's six million Muslims.

Chaturon told Reuters his ministry would encourage schools in the region to teach Islam, Malay and the history of the struggle between Thailand and the region, once an independent sultanate, in a gesture of Bangkok's respect to local pride and history."