Thai foreign minister officially welcomes OIC delegates to Thailand

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BANGKOK, 9 May 2012  – The foreign minister has represented Thailand in offering an official welcome to the delegates of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the country. 

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, on Tuesday, welcomed Ambassador Sayed Kassem El-Masry, adviser to the OIC secretary-general and special envoy of the OIC secretary-general on Thailand. Mr. El-Masry and his delegation are scheduled to be in Thailand until May 17th.

While having a meeting with the delegates, the Thai foreign minister has informed Mr. El-Masry and his delegation about the latest development in the deep South and the government’s determination to resolve the situation by adhering with His Majesty the King’s advice to have more understanding while trying to access and further develop the region.

Mr. Surapong also affirmed that the current government has recently approved a budget of 70 million US dollars to help those affected by the act of violent acts and conflicts in the southern border area.

At the meeting, Mr. El-Masry assured the Thai foreign minister that the OIC has been aware that years of violence in Thailand’s deep South had not been about religious conflicts while recognizing that the number of violent cases had come down in recent years.

On Wednesday, the OIC delegates will travel to Thailand’s 3 southern border provinces to get first-hand updates on the years-long violence in the insurgency-plagued region and to hold talks with local officials, academics and representatives from Thai Muslim communities regarding the situation there.