Sweden to Stay Away from Tsunami Memorials in Thailand

Swedish government will be not attending the Tsunami memorial in Thailand as the Tsunami victim’s relatives have asked for privacy.
         “The relatives want to have a private, peaceful dignified ceremony without high representation but also without media coverage. These points have been made repeatedly to the government.”” said the relatives’ representative Birgitta Darrell.
         “This is a ceremony for the relatives and so obviously we will listen to their wishes,” said the state secretary Lars Danielsson.
         Thai Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday 27 September that they will invite Prime ministers of Sweden, Finland and Norway including other world leaders to attend the Tsunami memorials.
         The Thai government said to pay the bill for all attendees from abroad at memorials planned for 26 December in Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi provinces., which were all hard hit by the catastrophe tsunami.
         Sweden has arranged three memorial ceremonies in Thailand for relatives and survivors through the Council for Tsunami Catastrophe Support and Coordination. 
         So far around 500 people have applied to attend – around 100 for each of two ceremonies at the beginning of November and around 300 for the anniversary itself on December 26th.
         The anniversary will also be marked in Sweden by services in several locations. 
         The Swedish government has contributed 8.6 million kronor to the relatives’ cost of travelling to Thailand, though it is still unclear who will be entitled to receive a grant. 
         A decision is expected at the end of the week.
         At the beginning of September that issue was complicated by the Thai government’s offer to cover travel costs.
         There are 543 Swedes on the police’s list of those confirmed missing or dead. 23 people still remain to be identified.

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