The Phnom Penh Post

Free Palestine banner in Bangkok: Ministry denies removal order


THAILAND’S foreign ministry on June 11 clarified that the removal of the “Free Palestine” banner near Sathu Pradit Expressway in Bangkok was not done on the orders of the ministry.

A giant banner with the Palestinia­n flag along with the message “Free Palestine” was reportedly seen covering a billboard near the expressway on June 3. No group has claimed responsibi­lity for the banner until it was later removed by the billboard owner. Rumours then emerged that the ministry had forced the owner to take it down, fearing that it could affect internatio­nal relations.

Ministry spokesman Thani Saengrat said: “Thailand has been advocating peace talks between Israel and Palestine under the two-state solution approach in which both countries can coexist peacefully and with mutually accepted borders in the Middle East.

“We also promote a non-violent approach and hope that both countries would start peace negotiatio­ns again in an appropriat­e environmen­t.”

He said Thailand had officially acknowledg­ed Palestine as a state on January 17, 2012 and started diplomatic relations with Palestine on August 1 that year.

“For nine years, Thailand and Palestine have maintained a positive relationsh­ip. The Palestinia­n president visited Thailand as a government guest in 2016, while Thailand donated $30,000 to help Palestine fight the Covid-19 outbreak on June 23, 2020,” Thani said.

He added that Thailand had also maintained academic and developmen­t cooperatio­n with Palestine at bilateral and multi-lateral levels, including providing academic training through Thailand Internatio­nal Cooperatio­n Agency, hosting the Conference on Cooperatio­n among East Asian Countries for Palestinia­n Developmen­t in 2018, and donating to UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestinia­n Refugees in the Near East at $40,000 per year since 1978 under a multi-year pledge.

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