PHUKET /Thailand/, July 15. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday will hold a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand Don Pramudwinai, as well as take part in the ceremony of the opening of Russia’s consulate-general in Phuket and a meeting with Russian nationals.
On July 12-14, top Russian diplomat visited Jakarta where he participated in ASEAN ministerial activities. Lavrov also had a number of bilateral contacts, as well as three-sided talks in the RIC-2 format (Russia-Indonesia-China).
Thailand is Russia’s important partner in Southeast Asia, while the two countries’ bilateral relations "rely on longstanding traditions of friendship, carry a high level of confidence and mutual respect," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.
"The dynamic political dialogue is maintained, contacts through security councils, legislative and law enforcement bodies, ministries and agencies, regions of the two countries are expanding, trade and economic cooperation is developing. The sides intend to deepen coordination of efforts in international and regional affairs," the ministry added.
Moreover, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that amid "the unprecedented pressure by the collective West the Thai side keeps a neutral position" regarding Russia’s special military operation. "Bangkok’s refusal to join the illegal anti-Russia restrictions once again confirmed that bilateral ties are not exposed to temporary fluctuations," the ministry pointed out.
The ceremony of opening Russia’s consulate-general in Phuket will take place in the Royal Phuket Marina complex. "We have moved into a new building. Previously we did not have any office, though we started working in 2020 during the pandemic. Back then our activities included not only release of documents, we organized evacuation flights. There is much work here now as the flow of tourists is huge," Russian Consul General to Phuket Vladimir Sosnov told TASS.
Local authorities support Russian diplomats and facilitate their work, he added. "Unfortunately, there are many deaths among tourists, detentions of citizens by local law enforcement bodies, including for violating the country’s immigration legislation. We work [with the authorities] constructively," the diplomat noted.
There is also a consular mission in Thailand at Russia’s embassy in Bangkok. There are honorary consulates in Pattaya and on the island of Samui.
Phuket is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations. Some 6 mln foreign tourists visited the island in the first five months of 2023, including over 400,000 Russians. Around 12 mln foreigners are also expected to visit the place by the end of this year. Russians traditionally make up the most numerous group of travelers visiting Phuket. Representatives of the local tourism industry expect to receive around 1 mln tourists from Russia this year.