300 Lankans left stranded in Bangkok

Request for a chartered flight to land at a military base not realistic, says Foreign Secretary
By Chandani Kirinde

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Thailand has requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make arrangements to evacuate some 300 Sri Lankans left stranded in Bangkok since Wednesday, after Thai demonstrators forced the temporary closure of Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

“We are trying to charter a plane to pick up the Sri Lankans,” Professor J. B. Dissanayake, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand, told The Sunday Times by telephone from Bangkok.

The embassy is seeking clearance for a chartered aircraft to land at a military base in Bangkok. The ambassador said about 300 Sri Lankans had called the embassy after the airport was closed, adding that there may be more locals stranded in Bangkok who have not yet contacted the embassy.

A Thai anti-government protester rests at Bangkok's occupied Suvarnabhumi international airport on Friday. AFP

Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona confirmed there had been an informal request to charter an aircraft to evacuate the Sri Lankans, but said it was not a realistic option, considering that there were thousands of foreigners stranded in Thailand and getting permission to land at military bases would be difficult. “The Lankans will have to sit it out,” he said.

The Sri Lankans and other passengers are being put up in hotels and are being well looked after by the Thai government, Ambassador Dissanayake said. Last Wednesday a crowd of 5,000 protestors blocked roads leading to the airport, saying they would not withdraw until the Thai government resigned. At present, no air traffic is moving into or out of Bangkok.

Ambassador Dissanayake said he did not expect an “immediate resolution” to the problem. Sri Lankans in Thailand told The Sunday Times that the Lankans held up in Bangkok included holiday-makers, passengers in transit, and a group that had attended an international gem exposition in the city.
Meanwhile, one Sri Lankan being put up in a Bangkok hotel said the Thai government was covering only bed and breakfast costs.

“We have to pay for our other meals, and we are also spending a lot on telephone calls to make alternative arrangements back home, because our work has been affected,” he said.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other News Articles
3 INGOs to be sent home
CPC tried to transfer all accounts to foreign banks
Curfew in Batti as troops hunt for killers
7 killed, 500,000 affected in NE floods
Mumbai terror war ends; 195 dead
Order on alleged confession this week
Lanka’s Unilever CEO returns safely after terrorist attack on Mumbai’s Taj
No end to war, only more deaths: Mangala
Rains hinder food convoys to the North
Police arrest 42 persons on Hantana estate
Jobs for 800 retired teachers in schools in the East
Conflict and floods displace most Wanni citizens
Mannar district also affected
Eastern Province torn by factionalism, says bishop
Batti residents meet up at ‘peace’ pola
300 Lankans left stranded in Bangkok
The food and relief assistance for the displaced in the North
Hotel security beefed up after Mumbai attack
News in brief....
Odds and Ends
Britain under fire for complicity in LTTE show
Curtains for education sector
Sigiriya sound and light show off/on
Ministry promises ‘maximum security’ for hospitals in NE
Monkeys play havoc in Trinco town
Elephantine problem at Anamaduwa
Sixteen Wanni families seek state protection after hasty LTTE exit


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution