Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov’s speech at the opening of the photo exhibition of archival documents for the 120th anniversary of Russian-Thai diplomatic relations

Mr Ambassador,

Colleagues and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we are celebrating a major landmark in the history of Russian-Thai relations. One hundred and twenty years ago, on July 3, 1897, Russian Emperor Nicholas II and King of Thailand Rama V, who was visiting Russia, agreed to establish diplomatic relations between the two states.

Materials and photos presented at this exhibition graphically illustrate that bilateral relations have been built on the basis of equality and mutual respect from the very start. In the late 19th century Russia used its influence in the world arena to prevent Siam from being turned into a colony. But there was more to it. Russia has left a tangible imprint on the history of that country. The first Russian envoy to Bangkok founded Thailand’s most famous Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Russian composer Pyotr Shchurovsky wrote the royal hymn. There are many more examples of this kind.

We greatly value our tradition of friendship with Thailand, Russia’s important partner in the Asia-Pacific Region. We have accumulated extensive experience of cooperation in the past decades and formed all the necessary prerequisites for the continued development of bilateral relations in a broad range of areas.

The success of our efforts is underwritten by our high-level and top-level political dialogue based on trust. President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-ocha on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN Summit in May 2016 and the exchange of visits by the prime ministers of the two countries in 2015-2016 provided strategic guidelines for deepening our multi-faceted bilateral cooperation. Our parliaments, ministries and organisations maintain regular contacts. And our foreign ministries coordinate their actions.

We have done much groundwork in trade and investment. Our mixed commission on bilateral cooperation is working successfully. The meetings of its working bodies held in the first half of this year reaffirmed our mutual interest in implementing mutually beneficial projects in various areas of economic cooperation. We maintain active people-to-people contacts. The tourist flow from Russia to hospitable Thailand and from Thailand to Russia is growing.

Naturally, a lot of meticulous work will be required to raise our bilateral relations to an even higher level and increase the practical results of our cooperation. We are convinced that together we can fully realise the potential of Russian-Thai contacts for the benefit of our peoples and in the interests of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific Region.

In Russia we say “An old friend is better than two new ones.” This is how we feel about our Thai partners, and our bilateral relations have stood the test of times. We will continue our close cooperation in addressing the challenges we face.





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