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Singapore confident Thai relations will normalise soon

SINGAPORE -  Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo expressed confidence that the island-state and Thailand will be able to restore bilateral relations to normalcy soon.

"Not only are our links with Thailand extensive and deep-rooted, we also share many common interests," Malaysia's official Bernama news agency quoted Mr. Yeo as saying at the launching of  Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) commemorative centennial publication Wednesday.

The relationship between Thailand and Singapore has been strained since early January when Thailand took diplomatic action against the island republic for permitting ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to meet with a senior Singapore cabinet member and was also the venue for interviews with international media criticising Thailand's Council for National Security and the interim government of Gen. Surayud Chulanont. 

Thailand still hopes its soured relationship with Singapore will be mended soon with Singapore showing more positive response to the kingdom's concern, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Kitti Wasinondh said last week.

Bernama quoted Mr. Yeo as saying that he had written to his Thai counterpart Nitya Pibulsonggram to thank the Thai Government for the special effort it made to ensure the well-being of Singapore football players and supporters during the recent Asean Football Championship final in Bangkok, according to Bernama.

Singapore won the championship, beating Thailand with a 3-2 aggregate in a match at which Thai police feared the fans would turn emotional, given the state of relations between the two countries as well as the controversial penalty awarded to Singapore when both teams played in the first-leg of the series in Singapore. 

Singapore won the first leg 2-1 in a match that saw the Thai players stage a walkout for 15 minutes to protest the referee's decision. Yeo also said Singapore supported the efforts by the present Thai Government in quickly restore constitutional rule based on justice and fairness.

"We wish the Thai people well because that is in our own best interest," he was quoted by Bernama as saying. (TNA)

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