Mideast ties strong, says Don

Mideast ties strong, says Don

Although absent from a House committee meeting in which he was to be asked to clarify his "misinformed" remarks about the conflict between the US and Iran, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said Thailand's ties with the Middle East are good.

Speaking to the Thai media while attending a foreign ministers' retreat in Nha Trang, Vietnam, the minister said he visited Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman from Jan 11-13.

Mr Don said he was the first Thai foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia in 30 years, while both countries had decided to revitalise diplomatic relations after years of strained ties.

He said he represented Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in sending condolences after the passing of Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He also met with his Bahraini counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to strengthen long-standing ties.

In Thailand yesterday, Mr Don had deputy permanent-secretary of foreign affairs Jesda Katavetin represent him at a House committee meeting investigating his Iran remark.

On Jan 7, Mr Don told Government House reporters that the US had informed Thailand one day before of its drone attack which killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani on Jan 2. Later the same day, the ministry's spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks backtracked on Mr Don's statement, saying the minister was "misinformed".

He admitted the mistake resulted from misinformation, adding the spokeswoman had clarified the matter.

Mr Jesda told the panel that countries involved in the conflict, including Iran, had not complained about the gaffe. He added that Thailand and Iran remain on friendly terms.

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