Russia seeks closer defense cooperation

Extracts from "The Nation", November 6, 2014
Russian Ambassador Kirill Barskiy said to "The Nation"
Russia is ready to sell weapons to Thailand as Moscow wants to see a new era of military and security cooperation between the two nations in order to combat transnational crime and terrorism.

This would translate into a closer cooperation between the two national armies, which could be built within the ASEAN disaster-management scheme, which involves regional defense ministers and dialogue partners, he said.

Also, the envoy said, the focus would be on strengthening security, promoting confidence-building measures and a more balanced regional architecture of security In the future.

Mr. Barskiy, who took the post in Bangkok this August, said he was also keen on promoting mutual ties between the two countries and also in other areas such as political dialogue, tourism and investment.

He said he wished to build good relations in a peaceful and prosperous way, even though he happens to have been posted under an unelected Thai government.

He pointed out that Russia is a democracy and, hence believes that all problems in Thailand should be resolved in a democratic manner through peaceful dialogue within the constitutional and legal framework.

"How this is achieved is in the hands of the people of Thailand. It is Russia's national character to not interfere with other countries' domestic affairs," Barskiy told Nation Multimedia Group Chairman Suthichai Yoon in a recent interview. "Only the people of Thailand know best what to do and how to do it."

Russia can help and will always be ready to promote cooperation and contact with the Thai interim government, the ambassador said.

There are projects and commissions in bilateral trade, agriculture and investment that the two countries have established and developed together that are not affected by politics. The ambassador pointed out that CP Group's investment in Russia was already well-established and had proved to be successful.

Russia will be expanding investment in Thailand's energy sector, and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in September. Ambassador Barskiy said that though the start was small, he hoped the two nations would have a full-fledged cooperation on this in the near future.

In terms of tourism, the ambassador said he was well aware of the huge Russian communities in the Kingdom, especially in Pattaya and Phuket. As many as 1.7 million Russians visited Thailand last year, and the envoy said he expects the number to rise by 20 to 30 per cent in the years ahead.

Extracts from "The Nation", November 6, 2014
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