France’s Hollande hails Thai PM’s democracy ‘commitments’
PARIS — French President Francois Hollande hailed Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s “commitments in favour of democracy and freedom” as they met in Paris on Friday, his office said.
They agreed to “diversify economic relations” and discussed political, educational and cultural cooperation, a statement from Hollande’s office said. They also vowed to boost military ties and said their defence ministries would sign a cooperation agreement.
Yingluck also met Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who hailed Thailand for “again finding the road to democracy and stability after a period of tensions,” his office said.
The foreign ministry said Thailand is France’s second-biggest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with trade worth about $3.14 billion (2.58 billion euros) in 2010, and is the third-largest importer of French products in the group.
In 2010 mass protests by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s “Red Shirt” supporters against the previous government descended into the kingdom’s worst civil violence in decades, with more than 90 people killed in a military crackdown.
Yingluck, Thaksin’s sister, became prime minister following a landslide election win by her brother’s party last year.