Members of the diplomatic corps and international organizations have been invited to attend a briefing on the explosion incident on Sukhumvit Soi 71 in Bangkok.
The briefing, held on 15 February 2012 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was made by Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkaew, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Police General Pansiri Prapawat, Deputy Police Commissioner-General.
Participating in the briefing were heads of missions and high-level representatives of 45 countries and two international organizations. According to Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, the main purpose of the briefing was to provide accurate and timely information regarding the incident from an official source, so that the missions could report back to their respective capitals and headquarters.
In addition, he said, the briefing provided an opportunity for the Ministry to inform the missions about actions taken by the Thai authorities to ensure the safety and security of foreign nationals and foreign interests in Thailand.
It included details about the incident that took place given the latest evidence gathered. As for the two suspects arrested, the Thai authorities were in the process of verifying their nationalities as well as the authenticity of their passports. Arrest warrants for another two suspects have also been issued.
The Permanent Secretary sought cooperation from friendly countries in providing any information deemed useful for on-going investigations. He also stated that Thailand understood that each country had the responsibility of providing advisories and the latest information to their nationals to ensure their safety and security. In this connection, he expressed the hope that the actions and measures taken by the Thai authorities would be taken into account and that the advisories issued would be commensurate with the situation.
Representatives of some embassies inquired about possible links between this incident to the issuance last month of travel alerts and advisories for Thailand by some countries or to the recent assassination attempts in India and Georgia. In this regard, the Permanent Secretary said that based on the evidence gathered thus far, there was no indication that the incidents were linked. Investigations, however, were still on-going.
Responding to a reporter’s question on whether concern was expressed about the incident during the briefing, the Spokesperson stated that most of the questions raised were more of a general nature with no particular concerns raised, which may reflect the confidence in actions and measures taken by the Thai authorities, which have in fact stepped up security measures as a precaution since last month.
The Spokesperson added that, prior to the briefing, the Iranian Ambassador to Thailand met with the Acting Director-General of the Department of South Asia, Middle East and African Affairs, during which the latter requested cooperation from the Iranian side in helping to verify the nationality and authenticity of the passports of the two arrested suspects.