Thailand, EU affirm fostering strong bilateral ties

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BANGKOK, May 2 – Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday met the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton and affirmed her intention to foster strong bilateral economic and political relations between Thailand and Europe.

Ms Yingluck welcomed Ms Ashton at Government House and hailed the success of the 19th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Brunei April 26-27 which also marked the 35th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations.

Ms Ashton told the premier that she intended to visit Thailand after the Brunei meeting because the EU considers friendship with Thailand as important and wants to see stronger relations in the future.

Ms Yingluck said that Thailand also wanted to expand cooperation with EU in all dimensions, particularly regarding the economy and trade and wants to upgrade bilateral political relations as strategic partners.

Both sides also agreed to move forward talks to achieve a Thai-EU free trade agreement.

The Thai premier assured the EU representative about the strong growth of the Thai economy, which is expected to expand at 5.5-6.5 per cent in 2012.

After that, Ms Yingluck has welcomed Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi during his visit to Thailand as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms Yingluck praised the warm diplomatic ties between Thailand and Hungary, and beyond trade and investment, the two sides have developed cooperation in the fields of tourism, education and culture.

She said Hungary was acknowledged for its expertise in water management which could benefit Thailand if both countries exchange knowledge and experience in water resource management.