Minister Cannon's Statement on the Situation in Thailand

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2008 08:33:00 PM | Has the following release on the situation in Thailand.

Minister Cannon's Statement on the Situation in Thailand
December 1, 2008

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement on the situation in Thailand:

“I would like to take this opportunity to update Canadians on the situation in Thailand, and to assure them that the Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians stranded in Bangkok.

“As you well know, travellers are unable to leave Bangkok by air because protestors have occupied the Suvarnabhumi and Don Meuang airports. The Embassy of Canada in Bangkok continues to monitor the political situation closely. Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of the affected Canadians.

“The international airports in other parts of Thailand (Phuket and Chiang Mai) remain open and are accessible via bus and train from Bangkok. A number of airlines have scheduled additional flights, and some Canadian travellers have already departed the country on commercial flights via both of these airports. We continue to advise Canadians to contact their airline, tour group or travel agent to make alternate arrangements to leave Thailand.

“It is unclear at this time when normal flight operations will resume. Because the situation is extremely disruptive to travellers, our Embassy continues to work around the clock to help those Canadians stranded in Bangkok.

“We are looking at all options, including the possibility of securing chartered flights to help Canadians get from Thailand to Hong Kong.

“I have also taken steps to arrange for Canadian passengers to be able to change their tickets and fly back from Hong Kong to Canada. I spoke to the President of Air Canada to get his support to help consular staff assist the travel of these Canadians.

“A number of airlines were able to retrieve 88 planes that were stranded at the Suvarnabhumi airport at the time of the closure. These planes will provide additional capacity at other Thai airports.

“I have also called Canada’s Ambassador to Thailand to speak with him this afternoon about the situation. Our Embassy in Thailand has been in contact with Canadians in Bangkok, including the 200 people who are registered with various tour groups. It has been facilitating any immediate requirements, including exploring all options to get Canadians back to Canada.

“Our best estimate is that upwards of 1,000 Canadians have been affected by the shutdown of the airports.

“Canada continues to urge all sides to remain committed to nonviolence. We encourage the parties involved to seek a peaceful resolution to the situation that respects democratic principles.

“Canada appreciates the assistance provided by Thai authorities to stranded Canadians. We ask that they continue in their efforts to facilitate the departure of Canadians wishing to leave Thailand.”

For further information, media representatives may contact:
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

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