Thailand clarifying political tensions to world community

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BANGKOK, Nov 26 – Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Tuesday that the foreign ministry has submitted letters clarifying ongoing political tensions in Thailand to the international community following travel warnings issued by dozens of countries.

The minister’s move came as anti-government protesters marched across the Thai capital and occupied two key ministries yesterday, forcing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to widen enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Bangkok and parts of three other adjacent provinces.

The foreign minister said he has sent letters to the United Nations and Human Rights Watch clarifying the political situation in Thailand and is prepared to send letters to another five countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia.

He said the letter will inform the world community that the intensified protests affect national security and are considered as illegal moves as the demonstrators have invaded state offices.

So far, the foreign minister said, 22 countries have issued travel advisories for their nationals. He said the warnings do have an impact on Thailand’s tourism industry.

Mr Surapong said protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban must take responsibility for what happened, adding that the deputy permanent-secretary for foreign affairs has been assigned to file a legal complaint against the former Democrat MP.

He said security officials will take legal action against those who occupied the foreign ministry compound.

It is reported that the anti-government protesters who encamped in the foreign ministry headquarters in Bangkok since last night have already left the premises this morning. Officials can return to work as usual tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the US State Department on Monday issued a statement expressing concern about rising political tension in Thailand.

“We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law. Violence and the seizure of public or private property are not acceptable means of resolving political difference,” said the statement, issued by spokesperson Jen Psaki,

“We call upon all sides to uphold international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. The United States firmly believes all parties should work together to resolve differences through peaceful dialogue in ways that strengthen democracy and rule of law,” it said.

UK Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire commented on the demonstrations in Bangkok, saying that the UK has been following the situation and will continue to do so.

“As a friend of Thailand, he said, the UK urges all sides to adhere to their commitment to the values of democracy and rule of law in the interests of Thailand’s peace and stability.”