Focus on unrest irks Surapong
- Published: 1/01/2013 at 11:18 PM
- Online news:
Lavishing too much attention on the violence in the deep South could provoke more bloodshed, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul says in a warning to the media.
The government is aware it needs to explain the problem but is also aware that drawing attention to it could encourage the insurgents, he said.
"I would not like the international community to pay more attention to this problem, but they should condemn those who attack innocent people," he said.
However, Mr Surapong said he was also aware the violence in the far South has persisted and the government needs to explain why the situation is so dire.
He said the Foreign Ministry had sent a letter to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemning the actions of insurgents responsible for violence that has led to the deaths of many teachers and students in recent months.
Mr Surapong said the purpose of the letter was to inform the OIC about the facts in the region, but he did not want to put the spotlight on the situation as it could encourage insurgents.
He said he hopes he will be able to focus more on resolving the problem this year.
Other important issues on the ministry's radar for 2013 include human trafficking, exploitation of child labourers and cross-border trafficking, he said.
The ministry will also work with the police in efforts to suppress drug smuggling and will try to repair Thailand's soured relationship with Saudi Arabia, Mr Surapong said.
He said Thailand will continue to build on its relationships with its neighbours by improving connectivity and opening more border checkpoints.
"The ministry will expand cooperation with countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America because they are big markets for Thailand," he said.
African countries lack agricultural know-how while Middle East countries need food security, which Thailand can help with in exchange for cooperation on energy, he said.
"Thailand plans to organise a summit with African leaders who are interested in Thai agricultural projects as well as royal-initiated projects," Mr Surapong said.
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Writer: THANIDA TANSUBHAPOL