U.S. Secretary of State’s telephone conversation with Thai Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Press Release on 16 May 2015, On 15 May 2015, Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the U.S., called his counterpart, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand. Salient points included:
1. Mr. Kerry expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s continuous efforts in helping displaced persons and refugees.
2. He also expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s initiative in hosting the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May 2015 in Bangkok, and affirmed attendance of senior U.S. representatives.
3. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed Thailand’s policy commitment towards assisting displaced persons on humanitarian consideration, and that Thailand would not push them back.
4. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs also informed Secretary Kerry regarding a vessel carrying around 300 migrants drifting in Thai territorial water near Satun Province, that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed the Royal Thai Navy to look into the situation, informed the vessel that Thailand was ready for them to disembark so that humanitarian assistance could be provided if so needed. However, those on board informed the Thai side that they wished to travel onwards. Nevertheless, the Navy has provided food, water and fuel to that vessel.
5. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs further informed Secretary Kerry about the policy initiative to provide temporary shelters for migrants that it was being prepared for necessary situations in accordance with humanitarian principles within the bounds of Thai laws. It was important to keep monitoring the situation closely in order not to send out wrong signals to those without emergency needs, who might take the opportunity to enter Thailand illegally.
6. The one-day meeting on 29 May will be attended by practitioners/senior officials from affected countries as well as observers, who will discuss a multi-faceted and internationally-coordinated approach towards the situation according to humanitarian principles and international burden sharing, with expected concrete outcomes.
For more information and updates about Thailand’s policies and actions against trafficking in persons and related issues, visit www.thaianti-humantraffickingaction.org