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Embassies, diplomats concerned at Bangkok shutdown

Foreign embassies, and particularly those located near rally sites, on Wednesday expressed concern at the political situation ahead of the mass rally and Bangkok shutdown on January 13, Foreign Ministry's permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew said.

Some 20 foreign embassies on Silom, Sathorn and Wireless roads could be affected by the demonstrations.

Sihasak was speaking after briefing foreign diplomats about the situation concerning the antigovernment protesters who plan to organise a mass demonstration on Monday to shutdown the city.

Of the 63 attendants from 50 countries, 28 were ambassadors and included those from France, Germany, Denmark, Italy and Canada.

Thailand, as a host country, is committed under the Geneva Convention to provide safety and security for their work as well as for the travel of embassy staff.

Sihasak said he briefed the diplomats about the safety measures and ensured them that the government would solve the problems in a peaceful way and in line with democratic principles.

The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) will be in charge of taking care of the safety of the embassy and their staff.

He quoted some foreign diplomats as expressing concern at reports that the protesters will close down many intersections and their expectations that their vehicles would be able to enter and leave the embassies without trouble.

The French Ambassador to Thailand has expressed particular concern as its temporary embassy is located in the compound of CAT Telecom Plc on Charoen Krung Road, which saw its electricity cut during earlier protests.

The German ambassador to Thailand expressed concern at rumours that the protesters will seize the airports. "I confirmed to the ambassador that rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban has guaranteed there will be no shutting down of the airports," he said.


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