Thailand's government signed a breakthrough deal with Muslim insurgents for the first time ever today.
Negotiators agreed to hold talks to ease nearly a decade of violence in the country's southern provinces that has killed more than 5,000 people.
The agreement was announced in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur between Thai authorities and the rebel National Revolution Front.
"God willing, we'll do our best to solve the problem. We will tell our people to work together," said National Revolution Front representative Hassan Taib after a brief signing ceremony.
No schedule was given for future talks between the two sides.
It has been generally seen as a positive step but it is unlikely to end the conflict because several other guerilla movements are also fighting in southern Thailand and they have yet to agree to talks.
Violence has occurred nearly every day in Thailand's three southernmost provinces since the insurgency erupted in 2004.
Security forces and teachers have been regularly targeted by insurgents because they are seen as representatives of the government.
Muslims in the border region, which was an independent Islamic sultanate until it was annexed by Thailand in the early 20th century, have long complained of discrimination by the Bangkok government and the insurgents are fighting for full autonomy for the region.
The National Revolution Front is one of several movements that have made public calls for a separate state in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south.