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Thailand - Government to brief diplomats on plans to move ahead

The Thai government invites members of the diplomatic corps to receive a briefing on policy and plan after the protests in Bangkok. The cabinet is prepared to listen to comments from diplomats, which will be incorporated into government’s guidelines to make understanding and to provide rehabilitation assistance to people affected by the incidents.

On 25 May 2010, at the Government House, Mr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister and acting government spokesman, gave an interview regarding the invitation of foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations as well as foreign media to a briefing to clarify guidelines and measures after the protests. The briefing will be held on 29 May 2010 at 13.00 hrs at the Government House. The Prime Minister and concerned cabinet members, such as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Interior as well as President of the Thai Trade Representative will brief the participants. The purpose of the briefing is not only to directly clarify and make understanding on the situation to the diplomatic corps and heads of international organizations, but also to receive feedbacks for making understanding and providing rehabilitation assistance to the people affected.

The acting government spokesman said the briefing will include clarification on the incidents and details on the operations of the officers. During the briefing, the Prime Minister will receive international comments and recommendations, which are an important part of international understanding.

The acting government spokesman said that all diplomats and head of international organizations were invited. It is necessary to organize the briefing during this time, because a no-confidence voting debate will be held next week. There are also bilateral meeting requests with the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister may assign other cabinet members to meet with small groups of diplomats separately. After the briefing, the Prime Minister might be meeting with Thai and foreign journalists in Thailand.

Regarding the past feedback from foreign countries on the situation, the acting government spokesman said that there has been better understanding about what was happening and greater degree of analysis. People have seen news reports from the actual scenes. Right now information has been more comprehensive, such as the incident at Wat Pathumwanaram. First there was a report that officials operated in that area, but later the source was not sure about that information. Later information indicated that there was no presence of officials in the temple area, but there were shootings by unknown parties. This information will gradually come out and be collected to an independent working group to verify it.

Concerning foreign travels of the Prime Minister to explain the situation, as a number of trips were cancelled, the acting government spokesman said the government is working to prioritize. The international affairs office of the Government House has held a meeting on foreign trips and will do it again soon. However, now the Prime Minister gives importance to healing the affected people, restoring public security, and solving problems. The policy is to work on three areas at the same time, including planning security measures in Bangkok metropolitan area, healing people and small businesses affected by the incidents, and establishing an independent panel to investigate the case and to bring all suspected parties to judicial process. The three processes will be carried out simultaneously and the Prime Minister will explain it to foreign countries.

The acting government spokesman said that, on 24 May 2010, the Prime Minister visited Pra Mongkut Klao Hospital to see wounded soldiers and people. The Prime Minister also asks opinions from various parties and sees that a crucial question is about reconciliation.

Regarding foreign countries’ travel warnings, the acting government spokesman said the United Kingdom has lifted the warning so as to Australia and New Zealand. Other neighboring countries whose many citizens visit Thailand would cancel the warnings soon.

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