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The leader of Muslim-majority Malaysia on Monday pledged full assistance to visiting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to help resolve the Muslim insurgency raging in southern Thailand.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak urged insurgents to renounce violence, as he offered to work with Thailand in seeking ways to defuse the simmering rebellion along their common border as Yingluck arrived for a one-day trip.
“We both agree (the unrest) is a domestic matter for Thailand and people in the south must not seek a separate state. They must reject violence and extremism,” Najib said at a joint press appearance after their talks.
Yingluck, who took office in August, is finishing up a round of visits aimed at introducing herself to her neighbours.
Najib said the pair “discussed the need to find a long-term and durable peaceful solution in the south” of Thailand, where a seven-year Muslim insurgency has left thousands dead.
“Prime Minister Yingluck has requested Malaysia to provide whatever assistance and cooperation we can to help Thailand in the process towards a long-term solution in the south,” Najib said at a joint press appearance.
Yingluck, the younger sister of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, had originally been scheduled to visit Malaysia in October but postponed the trip as she grappled with Thailand's worst floods in half a century.
Her visit came as Thai authorities are investigating last week's failed bomb plot in Bangkok, which involves Iranian suspects and allegedly targeted Israeli diplomats.
Two Iranian nationals have been charged in Thailand, which is seeking the extradition of another Iranian man who fled to Malaysia, where he was arrested.
Malaysia has said it will cooperate with Thailand but is still holding the suspect pending an investigation by Malaysian police.
Malaysian officials said the case was not on the agenda of Monday's talks and the two leaders made no mention of it in public.
In September, Malaysian tourists were among four killed and more than 100 wounded in multiple blasts in southern Thailand, one of the largest recent incidents in the Muslim-majority area.
Najib called for expanded economic development opportunities in the region to help address the conflict's underlying causes, but neither side made mention of any specific plans.
“I am pleased with the success of this visit,” Yingluck said.
“It is a reflection of the close cooperation and commitment to the relationship between both countries and we look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Najib.” – Sapa-AFP