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Thailand eyes peace talks with southern insurgents

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BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s national security chief says the country is working to hold peace talks with Muslim insurgents based in neighboring Malaysia who are behind unrest in southern Thailand that has lasted nearly a decade.

Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary general of the National Security Council, says the two countries are working to set up the talks with militant leaders. Malaysia would act as a facilitator, helping to bring the insurgents to the table.

Paradorn says fewer than 1,000 insurgents are living on the Malaysian side of the border.

His comments Wednesday came ahead of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to Kuala Lumpur this week.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces since an Islamic insurgency erupted in 2004.

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