US ambassador has 'in-depth' talk with Prawit

US ambassador Glyn Davies at the Defence Ministry in Bangkok on Monday morning. (photo by Wassana Nanuam)

US ambassador Glyn Davies met Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Monday morning and said afterwards they had discussed the political reconciliation process.

Mr Davies visited Gen Prawit at the Defence Ministry.

He said they had discussed some issues in depth, including the political reconciliation process and public participation in it, the roadmap to democracy and the progress occurring there.

"I repeated the same points that we made during the recent visit of Adm Harris, and he gave me a good sense of the plans of the royal Thai government going forward,"  the ambassador said.

He was referring to the visit of Adm Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, for the Cobra Gold military exercise in mid-February. The commander, the most senior military US officer to visit Thailand since the 2014 coup, emphasised the importance of restoring democracy.

The ambassador said he hoped the reconciliation process "is conducted in ways that allow for participation of the Thai people in the process".

"I hope there is more political space opened up for there to be conversations about all of these issues that affect all people in Thailand... We talked in-depth about the situation," he said.

Mr Davies also said they discussed broad areas of cooperation between the US and Thailand, including health cooperation, law enforcement cooperation, people-to-people ties and economic cooperation.

"I expressed my appreciation for the deputy prime minister's time and I found it to be a very valuable and in-depth meeting for me. And I look forward to many more contacts with the deputy prime minister in the future," the ambassador said.

Before the one-hour discussion Gen Prawit said the ambassador had sought the meeting with him and he did not know what the topic would be.

Defence Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Khongcheep Tantrawanit said later the US ambassador was interested in the political reconciliation process and would like to see local people at all levels have their say in it.

The spokesman quoted Gen Prawit as saying that the government was opening forums nationwide.

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