Country to stay on democratic course, says Thai foreign minister

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Bangkok, Feb 15 (UNI) Thailand will stay on the democratic course after the election of a new government following the 2006 coup, new Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Noppadon Pattama told foreign envoys here.

''After a brief pause, Thailand has returned to democratic rule.

The people have spoken loud and clear'' Mr Noppadon, who assumed office last week, told members of the diplomatic corps at a reception he hosted for them at the foreign ministry last evening.

''There is no substitution for democracy and the rule of law.

Following last year's general election which were accepted by all independent observers as free and fair, Thailand now has in place a new government which enjoys broad popular support,'' he added.

The new Thai government's foreign policy will focus on regaining international confidence after the September 19, 2006 coup d'etat.

''Our message is simple...we are back on track. We are ready to strengthen our ties and collaboration with you. We will play our part as a responsible member of the international community,'' the minister said.

Before being appointed foreign minister, Mr Noppadon was a legal adviser to former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military.

Elections to restore democracy to the country in December last year have brought into office a coalition-led by a party backed by Mr Thaksin.

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