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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   9  January 2014  

Foreign envoys assured of safety during Bangkok Shutdown

BANGKOK, Jan 8 - The Thai Foreign Ministry today clarified the tense political situation to foreign envoys and said it would ensure their safety as several embassies are located in the "Bangkok Shutdown" protest areas.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent-secretary for foreign affairs, said foreign diplomats from 63 countries, including 28 ambassadors, attended the briefing at the foreign ministry on measures to cope with the Jan13 "Bangkok Shutdown" by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC ) and possible related inconveniences.

Mr Sihasak notified the envoys that their work might be affected but said that the government is well prepared with security measures to protect the embassies and diplomats' operations under international treaty obligations.

He said security measures will be tightened at embassies, particularly those located in areas likely to be blocked by the anti-government protesters such as Silom, Sathorn, and Witthayu.

The embassies can contact with the government around the clock, said Mr Sihasak, adding that as of now, no embassy has declared being closed next Monday.

The permanent-secretary for foreign affairs said he informed the diplomats that the Thai government adheres to peaceful and democratic means to solve the conflict. It is open for political reform and willing to listen to opinions from all parties.

Some foreign diplomats, however, voiced concern over the situation, such as the French ambassador to Thailand who expressed hope that the Thai government would provide sufficient protection to the embassy with its electricity supply having been cut off by the protesters.

The German ambassador expressed his concern over possible airport seizure, Mr Sihasak said he ensured the diplomat that such an incident will not happen as protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban earlier announced that the protesters would not do so.

Following rumours of a possible coup, Mr Sihasak said no diplomat asked about this issue.

Meanwhile, PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said their Monday march to drum up support for "Bangkok Shutdown" received a warm welcome from the public.

He said over Bt2.5 million in cash were donated by the public during yesterday's march.

He urged the Centre for the Administration for Peace and Order (CAPO) to stop slandering the protesters with groundless accusations of drug use and weapons theft. (MCOT online news)

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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