Your Excellency Mr. Don Pramudwinai,
The Russian-Thai Festival we are opening today is a pinnacle of the series of commemorative events held in Moscow and Bangkok this year to celebrate 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Thailand. Exciting three-day program will showcase Russian food and souvenirs, folk dance and ballet performance, symphonic music, documents and photographs from historic archives, jubilee stamps, first manned space flight, tourism promotion, education and business opportunities in Russia, lectures and talks by renowned scholars and writers. An unbelievable non-stop action!
Let me thank Minister Don and all our colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand for this remarkable initiative. It crystalized the sincere desire of Thai friends to demonstrate their sympathy towards my country, to glorify our shared history, and to herald a bright future of our partnership.
Today’s Festival is a co-production. A joint venture. A result of concerted efforts of dozens, if not hundreds, individuals from all walks of life. Besides the Russian Embassy, this project was voluntarily and strongly supported by the Russian community in Thailand. You will enjoy the stunning performance by musicians and dancers from Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. You will taste traditional Russian treats generously offered by restaurants and food producers from Pattaya and Hua Hin. Tangible contribution to the success of the Festival was made by our Thai partners – DITP, Thai Airways International, Thailand Post, Thai-Russian Business Council, Thai-Russian Chamber of Commerce, CP Group, PTT, publishing houses – Kinokuniya Books and River Books, Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, Ramkamheng University, Kamalasai Russian Studies Center, to name a few.
I think this is very symbolic as the ownership of the celebration belongs to all of us. It gives me great pleasure to thank you all for your selfless participation in this Festival. Without your help, this event would not have been possible.
The unique story of the two great monarchs – King Rama V and Emperor Nicholas II – who 120 years ago became close friends and forged a strategic alliance between their nations is known to millions of common people, men and women, old and young. These people feel proud of their ancestors. They want to carry the banner of this invaluable heritage. Maybe that is the reason why this anniversary is so dear to the hearts of Russians and Thais. Maybe that is the reason why the festivities organized by both sides are so unprecedented in scope.
Today, 120 years after, Russian-Thai relations are vibrant as ever. High-level political dialogue is regular, substantive and cordial. Our military men view each other as brothers-in-arms. From January to May 2017, bilateral trade has grown by 79 per cent - for the first time in the history of our relations! Investment cooperation is on the increase. Cultural exchanges are thriving. Over a million Russian tourists preferred Thailand as their favorite destination in 2016 while more and more Thai travelers these days choose to visit Russia. We see eye to eye on many international and regional issues. Last but not least, Russian-Thai relations are marked with equality, non-interference, mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual support.
Evaluating the progress that Russia and Thailand have achieved, we see that much has changed in our relations for the last 120 years. But the spirit of Rama V and Nicholas II is still here. The spirit of friendship remains unchanged.
I firmly believe that the harmonious bonds existing between our two countries will continue to prosper in the years to come for the benefit of the peoples of Russia and Thailand.
Thank you for your attention.