Germany has better understanding toward Thailand: FM spokesman


Thu, March 15, 2007 : Last updated 23:43 pm (Thai local time)

Nuremberg – The German foreign minister had a “correct impression”
of the political development in Thailand after the briefing by Thai
Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram in a bilateral meeting, said
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tharit Charungvat.

The comment was the most positive response from the country, which
currently holds the presidency of the European Union (EU), since the
coup on Sept 19 last year, said Tharit.

Nitya
is attending the 16th Asean-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) in Nuremberg,
Germany, where 37 ministers from EU and Asean attended. The meeting is
from 14 – 15 March. He will also be delivering a speech in the plenary
session on the political situation in Thailand.

The AEMM
is the first opportunity for Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram
to explain directly, instead of going through the Thailand’s
European-based diplomats, to the EU about the real situation in
Thailand before and after the military coup last year.

Right
after the coup, the 27-nation union members, led by Finland then,
issued two statements voicing their dissatisfaction over the political
situation in Thailand and urged the military appointed government to
lift martial law and hold a general election as soon as possible.

Nitya
told his European counterparts not to forget that it was Thaksin who
dissolved the parliament in February and the claimed free and fair
democratic general election in April was later nullified by the
administrative court, not to mention the two millions margin of votes
between the Thai Rak Thai supporters and those who cast ‘non-voting’.

“It
was not a popularly elected government,” said Nitya, adding that he saw
the country was heavily polarized and the bloodless coup in September
is rather as a benign intervention. “A country like that Thailand
cannot stand still,” Nitya told the press.

He also assured
the European ministers that the current government do not intend to
linger on to the power, and the constitution drafting process will be
reaching the stage of public referendum in July.

Besides
Germany, Nitya also had bilateral meetings with his counterpart from
Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and European Commission on Foreign
Affairs.

Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig
M๘ller made inquiries on the ongoing violence in the three southernmost
provinces and suggested that Thai government should use both carrot and
stick measures to deal with the insurgency.

Nitya
emphasized that the current government is using the peaceful measure
and that there needed be a development element in the solution to the
problem, particularly providing secular education to the religious
students. Denmark counterpart later agreed to consider about
possibilities in

providing assistance in that regard.

Swedish
Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt urged Thai government to stick
to its own time-line in drafting the constitution which will lead to
the general election.

This year marks the 30th anniversary EU-Asean relationship. The group will later have the Asem Summit in Hamburg in May.

Sopaporn Kurz

The Nation

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