Government talks
 
Since his appointment by the army after a September coup against Thaksin Shinawatra, Surayud has launched a major peace drive in the Muslim-majority, Malay-speaking region.
 
He has apologised for the hardline approaches of his predecessor, Thaskin Shinawatra, and said he desires talks with the rebels.
 

Surayud has made resolving the conflict one of his government's top priorities, but the violence has continued to increase.

 
Human Rights Watch, the New York-based group, said more than 1,700 people had been killed in the conflict as of August, and that most of the victims were civilians.
 
The group urged separatists to stop targeting civilians, while calling on the government to take concrete steps to restore trust among the region's people.