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Thais nix ASEAN’s offers of support

Thais nix ASEAN’s offers of support

THE Thai government has rejected calls from Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong that ASEAN take special action to bring a peaceful resolution to violent protests in Bangkok, downplaying the seriousness of the situation, Foreign Ministry officials said Monday.

Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said officials from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Cambodian Embassy on Monday that Hor

Namhong’s request to the Vietnamese government – which currently holds ASEAN’s rotating chairmanship – was unnecessary.

“Firstly Thailand said the situation occurring in Thailand right now is not so serious yet, and secondly, they said that the Thai foreign minister is absent from Thailand, he is now in the United States,” he said.

He repeated Hor Namhong’s belief, stated in a letter to Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem on Saturday, that the situation was extremely serious and in the least warranted a declaration from ASEAN or a special meeting of the 10-member regional bloc.

“We don’t know when the violence will end, and we don’t know how many more people will be wounded or killed,” he said, and urged Cambodians to put off all nonessential travel to the Thai capital.

However, Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said that no proposal had been put to the Thai government. “Our office isn’t aware of this, so we can’t comment,” he said Monday.

In a letter to ASEAN leaders Sunday, Pham Gia Khiem said Hor Namhong’s proposal for a special summit was “not practical”.

He added that although Hanoi supports the idea of a unified ASEAN statement on the Thai situation, Thai leaders had “responded negatively” to the suggestion.

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