Thais evacuate Baghdad embassy

March 13, 2003

Thailand evacuated its embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, moving its diplomats to the Jordanian capital of Amman because of expectation of an imminent US-led attack on Iraq.

A foreign ministry official told Reuters Thailand's ambassador to Iraq, Tawatchai Piyarat, had led three other diplomats, a 13-member delegation including two Thai parliamentarians, and a group of students, on a 10-hour drive to Amman.

"We have now relocated our mission in Iraq to Amman for security reasons," ministry spokesman, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, said. "For those students who have not yet left Iraq, we will help facilitate their needs from Jordan."

Last month, the foreign ministry said it had evacuated 78 of the 106 Thai nationals registered as living in Iraq because of worry about a war.

A 13-member delegation of Thai senators and human rights activists, in Iraq for a fact-finding mission, cut short its planned nine-day visit and was travelling with the ambassador to Amman, Sihasak said.