Workshop to Address the Southern Situation (06/08/2012)
A workshop will be held on 8 August 2012 to address unrest in the deep South and coordinate unified operations among all agencies involved.

The workshop comes after the recent increased in attacks, leading to a growing concern about the southern situation.

Deputy Prime Minister General Yuthasak Sasiprapha said that the National Security Council would serve as the secretary to the workshop, and the Internal Security Operations Command would propose guidelines for security operations. The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center would propose ways to develop the southern border provinces. The meeting would come up with clear plans for unified operations in the same direction.

Moreover, he said a national-level plan, together with a local-level plan, are being worked out and they would be submitted to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 8 August for quick operations and coordination in dealing with the southern situation.

General Yuthasak said that intelligence reports must be improved, as the Government needs updated reports from local officials for prompt decisions. He revealed that there were several groups of perpetrators attempting to intensify the situation, and they also wanted to receive greater attention from the international community, with the use of officials as victims. Among the groups were separatists, drug dealers, and traders of illegal and smuggled items. They found it difficult to continue their operations after officials had imposed stricter checks, thus enabling them to seize numerous illegal products.

General Yuthasak stated that he had instructed the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center to look after all schools in the deep South to ensure security for both students and teachers. However, he said, there was no need for the time being to enforce a curfew in response to the current situation.

He revealed that the Prime Minister had instructed the setting up of a center to integrate work by 17 ministries involved with tackling southern problems. Apart from General Yuthasak, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung and Deputy Prime Minister Yongyoot Wichaidit would be responsible for handling the center.

According to General Yuthasak, the Government would focus on proactive action to deal with southern problems. All related agencies were told to inspect local areas and seriously ease the problems.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet, during its meeting on July 30, approved the declaration of three more public holidays in the southern border provinces. The holidays include Christmas and Eid ul-Fitr, while Chinese New Year will be a public holiday in Songkhla, which has a large ethnic Chinese community.

The Cabinet also approved an improvement in the compensation for people suffering from southern violence and the recruitment of more civil defense volunteers operating in the southern border provinces.

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