Thailand has asked Malaysia to continue with programmes to bring peace and stability to southern provinces of Thailand.

In his speech to welcome the Commander-in-chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, Gen. Azizan Ariffin, Minister of Defence Pravit Wongsuwa of Thailand praised Malaysia’s 3E initiative, which offers help in education, economy and employment in southern Thailand.

He also appreciated Malaysia’s civil and military commitments to Thai armed forces over the past 50 years.
He expressed the hope that in the upcoming visit to southern Thailand by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Tun Razak would help reduce violence and increase trust among people.

The duo is scheduled to make the trip in December.

For his part, the Malaysian commander-in-chief pledged not to intervene into Thailand’s internal affairs while lending a hand to solve problems in the troubled region.

Gen. Ariffin also asked his Thai counterpart, Gen. Songkitti Jakabatra, to arrange a joint trip to southern Thailand in preparation for the joint State-level trip.

The three southern Thai provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani are largely populated by Muslims. The Muslim insurgencies since January 2004 have killed about 3,900 people./.