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Sweden extends Thailand travel warning

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Sweden extends Thailand travel warning
15:09 CEST+02:00
The Swedish foreign ministry (Utrikesdepartementet - UD) has warned against any "unnecessary travel" to Thailand's capital Bangkok in light of the deteriorating security situation.

UD was prompted to issue the new travel advice after several bombs exploded in the centre of the city on Thursday evening.

The UD statement underlined that the warning does not apply to transit through Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi airport to other international destinations or within Thailand.

The far-eastern country is a popular holiday destination for large numbers of Swedes, with many returning year after year. There are even Swedish schools located on a couple of the islands in the southern parts of the country. Thousands of Swedes have relocated permanently to Thailand.

The foreign ministry estimated that around 1,000 Swedish tourists remained in the country.

"The figures are very uncertain. A total of around 10,000 Swedes are estimated to be in Thailand, but there are a lot of young people travelling around and we don't know exactly where they are," ministry spokesman Anders Jörle told news agency TT.

The foreign ministry has long advised against travel to the four southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla due to rebel activity.

Massive demonstrations have prevailed for most of April in Bangkok with repeated battles between police and protesters. Ten people died in violent clashes near the democracy monument in central Bangkok on April 10th, with a further 800 injured.

Amid the protests that have paralysed much of the city, the so-called red-shirt supporters of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra have made cautious steps to opening negotiations with the embattled government, according to a BBC report on Friday.

The red-shirt protesters, who have occupied some parts of Bangkok for six weeks, have made a conditional offer of talks demanding that parliament be dissolved for a month, appearing to back down from demands for immediate elections.

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