The Nation

Foreign ministry voices cautious support for un resolutions on Libya

The Cabinet was reluctant to make a decision yesterday on whether to fully comply with the United Nations' resolution on Libya as many ministers expressed concern about the sensitiv ity of the situation and the impact on Thai national interest, a government source said.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday regarding Resolutions 1970 and 1973 (2011) saying that Thailand, as a member state of the United Nations, would comply with "the relevant provisions" contained therein.

But support was measured.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya briefed his colleagues yesterday, saying the UN Security Council had adopted Resolution 1970 last month to impose sanctions on Libya. This asked member countries not to supply weapons to Libya, to freeze the assets of Libyan leaders and ban travel by Libyan leaders to member countries.

Many ministers, such as Tourism and Sport Minister Chumpol Silapa-acha, cautioned that any stance taken by the Thai government might affect national interest. A move against Libya could affect the situation in the restive South, Chumpol was quoted as saying by a source in the Cabinet.

Labour Minister Chalermchai Srion said the government should be well aware that many Thai workers were still in Libya. Thousands had expressed a desire to return to work in the country after the situation, he said.

Kasit eventually concluded that the government didn't need to make a quick decision on the UN resolution since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) had yet to take a stance on the resolution.

Asean could consider the situation in Libya and the UN resolution in a meeting later this month, Kasit said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva later told Kasit to listen to Asean first and report back to the Cabinet after that.

The PM told reporters that ministers had deferred making a decision on the UN resolution as it needed to carefully weigh the consequences. Cabinet had asked related agencies to analyse the situation and propose options on how to comply with the resolution, he said.

Some 80 Thai workers had expressed a desire to stay in Libya despite of the attack by Western nations on pro-Gadhafi forces, Abhisit said.

The Foreign Ministry statement said Thailand urged all parties concerned to ensure the safety of civilians, both Libyans and foreign nationals, in Libya and stressed the need for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access and delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected population.

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