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Thai PM postpones German visit

Thai PM postpones German visit

29 March 2004

BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra postponed his scheduled 29 March to 3 April visits to Germany and Hungary due to continuing violence in southern Thailand, the foreign ministry said Sunday.

After meeting national security officials, Thaksin decided to remain in Thailand and supervise policy decisions concerning the escalating violence in the south, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow said in a statement.

More than 50 government officials, including police and soldiers, have been killed in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces this year. The violence has been blamed on Moslem separatist groups.

Thailand imposed martial law in the provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala after an attack on an army base left four soldiers dead in early January.

On Saturday night, a remote-controlled bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded in Sugnai Kolok on the Thai-Malaysian border injuring at least 27 people. The explosives-laden motorcycle had been parked in a small lane with open-air bars and injured both Malaysian and Thai tourists and Thai staff at the bars.

The prime minister’s planned visits to Britain, Sweden, Finland and Italy from 18 to 26 April were also postponed, the ministry said.

No new dates for rescheduled visits have been announced.

Subject: German news