Russia to boost relations
FM Lavrov to talk with Prayut today
Russia has affirmed its commitment to strengthening economic and security cooperation with Thailand and Asean at the ongoing 52nd Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Bangkok.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai stressed the dynamism of Thai-Russian relations after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
"It is my honour to receive Mr Lavrov following my visit to Moscow in February this year. In our talk, we managed to discuss many bilateral issues," he said at a press conference after their meeting on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Don promised that more exchange visits and agreements will follow to forge a closer alliance between the two countries. "There will be more investments in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). We will expedite pending projects and agreements with Russia," he said. In response, Mr Lavrov stressed that Russia places great importance on Thailand as its longest-standing partner in Southeast Asia.
"I would like to emphasise that our relationship is based on the principle of mutual respect and trust. Our bilateral agenda was confirmed when our president Vladimir Putin met your prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Singapore. In our talk with Mr Don, we discussed ways to deepen political dialogue based on confidence," he said.
Mr Lavrov met Gen Prayut briefly on Tuesday. He is scheduled to hold more in-depth talks with the premier and other foreign ministers and attend the Asean-Russia Ministerial Meeting today, and also the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) tomorrow.
Mr Lavrov took note of increasing Thai-Russian trade volume. "Our trade grew by 17% last year. We look forward to economic opportunities in upcoming business and digital forums, which are due to take place in September," he said.
Mr Lavrov said Russia welcomes security cooperation with Thailand. "We can work together on counter-terrorism, counter-extremism, and counter-drug trafficking," he said. Russia is also looking to deepen military cooperation. "There are prospects in this area. A ship of the Royal Thai Navy recently visited Russia's Vladivostok for the first time," he said.
Mr Lavrov pledged Russia's continued support for Thailand.
"We will continue to cooperate within the Asia-Pacific region through these platforms, such as the East Asia Summit, the Asean Regional Forum, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation," he said.