Thailand’s military government said on July 7 that peace in the Muslim-dominated south is an urgent national priority.

The message came a week after the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan and days after the new government, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, said it will revive talks aimed at bringing peace to the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Prayuth wants firmer measures and more success in the south, Secretary-General of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order Udomdet Sitabutr told reporters ahead of a visit to the region.

On July 4, Prayuth said in his weekly speech to the nation that the junta wants to use political strategies over military tactics in the south.

A low-level insurgency has claimed more than 6,000 lives since 2004 following the resurgence of a dormant Muslim separatist movement.

The government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra, which was ousted by the military in May, started peace talks last year with the National Revolutionary Front, but to no avail due to anti-government protests.-VNA