Thai PM leaves for regional summit in Kuwait

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BANGKOK, Oct 15 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is leaving the capital on Monday to attend the first leaders summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Kuwait.

The Thai premier will also use this opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties with Kuwait during her three-day official visit today through Thursday.

Ms Yingluck said the ACD was initiated by Thailand with an aim to seek cooperation among Asian countries. She said ministerial meetings have been regularly held but this is the first time for a leaders’ summit and representatives from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund will attend the event to enhance trade and investment cooperation and connectivity in Asia, as well as culture and tourism.

Ms Yingluck said she planned to raise food and energy security issues for discussion at the summit of 30-nation bloc.

She said, during the summit, Thailand will propose the setup of a permanent Secretariat as a coordinator and an institutional database which will proceed to make tangible the ACD initiatives.

The Thai premier said she expects to hold talks with leaders of Arab countries crucial to Thailand in terms of energy resources, while Thailand is also seeking cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to support the market for Thai agricultural produce, food and rice.

ACD was inaugurated in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand, where 18 Asian Foreign Ministers met together for the first time.  A continent-wide forum, ACD aims build links in Asia incorporating every Asian country, building an Asian community without duplicating other organisations or creating a bloc against others.

The grouping currently comprises 30 countries from East to West Asia, including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Apart from the ACD summit which ends Wednesday, Ms Yingluck said she is scheduled to meet bilaterally with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

The discussion will focus on trade and investment between the two countries, particularly on the energy, industrial and construction sectors, according to the Thai prime minister.

Ms Yingluck said she will propose to her Kuwaiti counterpart that the two countries extend trade cooperation to cover the agro-food industry, as well as medical tourism and spas.

The Thai premier will be accompanied by a group of businesspersons from construction, jewellery, agro-food and public health industries to negotiate possible trade and investment expansion.

Ms Yingluck is scheduled to return to Bangkok on Thursday at 10am.