Western diplomats told not to interfere in Thailand’s internal affairs
The Foreign Ministry yesterday formally told western diplomats that their presence at Pathumwan police station on Saturday when Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit reported to police to acknowledge a sedition charge against him has created an impression that they are taking sides in the current Thai political situation.
Damrong Kraikruan, a deputy permanent secretary of the ministry, told the diplomats who were invited to the ministry that their action is tantamount to interfering in Thailand’s internal affairs.
“Their action is beyond their diplomatic duty, constitutes an interference in Thailand’s internal affairs and violates Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. Under the convention, diplomats are required to follow the rules and regulations of the host countries and to refrain from interfering in their internal affairs.
The diplomats who were invited to meet separately with Damrong were from the Netherlands, France, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, US, Finland, Belgium and EU. The meetings came a day after Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai strongly criticized the diplomats for showing up at the Pathumwan police station where Thanathorn was charged for sedition and inciting public unrest for his alleged role in an anti-military rally back in 2015.
In their meetings yesterday, Damrong told the diplomats that their presence with Thanathorn was seen as a show of support for the embattled political firebrand. “It especially gives the impression that they were there to offer their moral support to Thanathorn and are taking sides in the current Thai political context,” said the statement from the ministry.
It said Damrong cautioned the diplomats not to do what did again.
One of the diplomats told ThaiPBS World that they went to the police station on their own accord and not because they were invited by the Future Forward Party. He denied taking sides in the current Thai political conflict and said it’s normal for western diplomats to take interest in what he described as political cases.