Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, Bangkok, August 10, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our talks with my colleague and friend, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, were constructive and, I would say, very productive.
Thailand is Russia’s oldest partner in Southeast Asia. Our peoples are bound by old ties of friendship, mutual respect and trust. A packed series of events is being held in honour of the 120th anniversary of our diplomatic relations celebrated this year. As you could see, exhibitions of photographs and archival material have been opened at the foreign ministries both in Thailand and the Russian Federation. A Russian-Thai festival was launched in Bangkok last month, with its opening attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Don Pramudwinai. We value this a great deal. Before the end of the year, the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre will be on tour in Thailand and the Khon Masks Theatre will perform in Moscow as well as in St Petersburg.
We have reviewed in detail the entire spectrum of issues related to our interaction in a wide range of areas, from the strengthening of political dialogue, foreign policy coordination, and trade, economic and investment cooperation to humanitarian exchanges.
We have stated that considerable progress has been achieved in implementing the agreements, which President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand reached at their meeting in May 2016.
My colleague has mentioned the steady growth of trade. We are also pleased with investment interaction. Thai companies operate in the Russian Federation and Russian companies operate in Thailand. There are a number of additional players in the economic market, who are interested in investing into Thailand’s economy. We have agreed to convene the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation before the end of this year and consider all these matters in practical terms. The Intergovernmental Commission’s working groups on agriculture, environmental cooperation, tourism and others will meet as part of the preparations for this meeting.
Speaking about tourism, we note with satisfaction that the number of Russian visitors to Thailand has grown by 37 percent during the first five months of this year. We have no doubt that we will soon achieve a record high level of Russian tourism in this country equal to 1,600,000 visitors in 2014.
A regular meeting of the working group on military-technical cooperation is also being planned for this year. We have discussed preparations for this important event.
Where international and regional affairs are concerned, we have stated closeness or coincidence of approaches to the key problems on the international agenda. Russia and Thailand are supporting the key role of the United Nations in solving global problems and the peaceful settlement of conflicts and crises on the basis of the UN Charter. Our delegations are closely cooperating in the UN and on venues in the Asia Pacific Region (APR), including annual meetings held by ASEAN, APEC as well as other organisations.
As part of the Russia-ASEAN dialogue partnership, we focus on enhancing the efficiency of antiterrorist efforts and efforts directed at fighting organised crime and drug trafficking. We also focus on developing economic and investment ties. We expect representatives from ASEAN member-countries to attend the next Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) scheduled for early September in Vladivostok. A special separate business dialogue between Russia and ASEAN has been planned as part of the EEF.
Let me note that cybersecurity is one of the relatively new subjects emerging on the agenda of our interaction. Our friends from Thailand told us about the prime minister’s initiative to open an ASEAN Centre for Cybersecurity in this country. We think that this is an important and timely initiative. The relevant Russian agencies will be interested in establishing contacts with this Centre.
I would like once again to express my gratitude to our Thai friends and colleagues and invite my friend Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai to visit the Russian Federation at his convenience.
In conclusion, I would like to perform one pleasant duty. The Russian Federation’s honorary consuls, Ms Panga Wattanakoun of Pattaya and Mr Supakit Chirawanon of Phuket, work in Thailand. They are doing a lot for Russian visitors in Thailand so as to make them feel calm whatever the situation; they help the Russian Embassy in many respects to work in the interests of Russian citizens in this country. These efforts are particularly valuable, given the tendency towards a considerable growth of the flow of tourists from Russia to Thailand. I would like to announce that it has been decided to award our honorary consuls Russian Foreign Ministry decorations – For Interaction – and present these badges in the presence of the media.