Thailand on Thursday (8 December) announced to hold fresh peace talks with its Muslim separatists in Malaysia next week. This comes after earlier round of talks ended with no breakthrough.
Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat have seen attacks amid faltering peace talks between Thailand's government and separatists.
"Next week a small team will travel to Malaysia to talk to groups who have different opinions in order to discuss 'safety zones'," General Aksara Kerdpol, the Thai government's lead negotiator, told Reuters.
"Our goal is to minimize losses and violence. Talks right now are at the trust-building stage and these safety zones are one way of building this trust."
According to the Thai military, the 'safety zones' that Aksara referred would be an area where insurgency-related fighting is out of bounds. However, it is not clear how many such zones would be identified in each province.
Rebels in the far south Muslim-majority provinces in the tourist nation have been accused of waging a decade-old insurgency. A series of attacks flared since 2004 have reportedly killed more than 6,500 people.
The peace efforts first began in 2013 under a civilian government when Yingluck Shinawatra was the prime minister. However, it was stalled since the military threw her out of office following a coup in 2014. The junta government held a round of talks in September but it reached a deadlock.
The government has been calling the separatist to end the violence. The junta in the Buddhism-majority nation has been heavily accused by the ethnic Muslim minorities of willing to accommodate them. It is has been reported that ethnic Pattani Malays in Thailand were being seen as Thai Muslims with no language rights or other forms of cultural recognition, one of the reasons for them to complain about the bureaucracy neglecting them.