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'Safety zone' proposed for Thailand's troubled South

Thai military and Muslim militants mull initiative, locals sceptical

Scene of a motorcycle bomb attack in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat.   © Reuters

PATTANI, Thailand -- After five years of intermittent and fruitless secret talks to end a Muslim insurgency in Thailand's southernmost provinces, the latest round in Kuala Lumpur in February has produced an agreement in principle between Thai military and Muslim militants to create a pilot "safety zone" to build mutual confidence. 

Gen. Aksara Kerdpol, the Thai military's point man at the talks with the insurgents, expects that the zone will take six months to create if it is approved in Bangkok. A host district has yet to be designated. 

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