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Thailand promises to suppress all LTTE activities on its soil

By Walter Jayawardhana


Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka that his government would extend help to suppress all illegal arms procurement by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in his country.

The Thai News Agency in an item published in the Bangkok Post said that Prime Minister Suraud Chulanont of Thailand agreed with visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka to strengthen cooperation in security and exchange of intelligence.

The joint statement issued after the discussions said both countries agreed to further intensify activities against terrorism. For a long time the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been using Thailand to buy arms from corrupt officials and businessmen and implement other terrorist activities of using Thai territory.

The talks were held Friday March 30 in Bangkoks Government House and Prime Minister General Surayud later held a dinner party in honor of Wickramanayaka.

Other than to quell the LTTE activities in Thailand the two leaders also discussed matters in relation to trade investment and energy. Both countries agreed to expedite the signing of a Preferential Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Thailand. Thai Prime Minister said Thai investors are also keen to gain increased access to the fisheries, national infrastructure and eco-tourism industries in Sri Lanka.

A joint communiqué issued by the two leaders after the discussions said, “The two Prime Ministers discussed issues relating to bilateral relations including economic, trade and investment, culture and security related matters. The two Prime Ministers expressed their overall satisfaction on the existing close ties between the two countries based on the strong cultural and religious bonds dating back to over 800 years. They noted with appreciation the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of their diplomatic relations in November 2005. Both Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres based on mutual interests and long standing friendship.”

The joint statement further said, “On culture and Buddhism, the Prime Minister of Thailand renewed appreciation for the assistance from the Government of Sri Lanka in restoring the Tripitaka Hall and the Bell Hall in the Dhammaram Temple in Ayutthaya in 2002 as a symbol of respect to Bhikku Upali who revitalized the Buddhist institutions in Sri Lanka over 250 years ago. They were pleased that the Tripitaka Hall would be ceremonially declared opened on 31 March 2007 by Hon. Ratnasiri Wickramanayka, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and H.E. Paiboon Wattanasiritham, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand.

The two sides also agreed to launch a Student Exchange Programme for Buddhist monks and scholars between identified Universities in the two countries.”

The joint statement of the two leader further added, “ The Prime Minister of Thailand appreciated the efforts being taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to find a political settlement to the conflict. Thailand expressed its strong support for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Both sides agreed to further intensify efforts to curb terrorist activities in the region.”

On bilateral trade the joint statement said, “On trade, both sides agreed to expedite the signing of the bilateral Preferential Trading Arrangement (PTA). They further exchanged views on ways and means to increase bilateral trade in potential areas of mutual interest and benefits, inter alia, exchanging high-level trade delegations, organizing business seminars and exhibitions. To this end, they encouraged concerned authorities, including private sectors, to take concrete steps for the early implementation.”

Drawing attention to investments the joint statement said, “ they encouraged both private sectors to further explore investment opportunities in potential sectors, inter alia, fishery and infrastructure. They noted with appreciation the results of the 1st Session of the Joint Agriculture Working Group in Peradeniya in October 2006; Consultations between the Boards of Investment of Sri Lanka and Thailand in Bangkok in December 2006; and, the 1st Meeting of the Joint Fishery Working Group between Thailand and Sri Lanka held in March 2007 in Bangkok. They also encouraged concerned agencies of both sides to further enhance the implementation of the existing MOUs in this regard.” The Thai Prime Minister also accepted an invitation to visit Sri Lanka.

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April 1, 2007 - Posted by | International News

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