PM orders close monitoring of Syrian conflict

The prime minister has ordered security officials to monitor the situation in Syria closely after the US-led bombings.

National Security Council secretary-general Gen Wallop Raksanoh said after Syria bombings by the US, Britain and France, the prime minister has ordered security officials to monitor and assess  the situation closely, as Thailand is a member of the  United Nations.

If the conflict deteriorates and prompts the UN to call  an emergency meeting, or upon request by member country for urgent  meeting, Thailand needs to comply with under international laws, he said.

He said Thailand insisted on calling all disputed countries  to restrain from the use of force but patience as it didn’t want any further loss of lives.

He also said the deputy prime minister and defence minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan would continue his scheduled visit to the Pentagon during April 21-26.

Meanwhile Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Maj Gen Pirawatch Sangtong said security officials were in readiness to ensure safety for Thai citizens and foreigners living in the country, as well as places of symbolic significance.

At the same time, the Thai Shippers Association vice president Visit Limluecha said although Russia has not yet reacted violently to the Syria bombings, the situation remained to be monitored closely by the private sector as this could have impact on Thai exports, global oil prices and baht currency.

He said although Thailand exported not much to Syria, but if the conflict escalates, Thai exports to the Middle East, such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia,   could be affected, particularly increasing demand for  ready-to-eat and dried food.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honourary president of the Rice Exporters Association, said as Syria is a major   importer of Thai 5% rice or about 100,000 tons per year, and the Middle East market holds 20% of total Thai export market or a million ton a year, any escalation of the conflict could hurt Thai rice exports.