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    Thailand vows end to ivory trade but gives no date

    BANGKOK — Facing the possibility of sanctions, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra vowed for the first time Sunday to work toward ending her country’s trade in ivory.

    But she gave no timetable for implementing a domestic ban, and conservationists warned that the unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Africa would continue until she does.

    Thailand’s internal ivory trade is legal, but wildlife groups say smuggled African tusks are mixed in with native stocks and skyrocketing demand here is helping to fuel the worst poaching crisis in sub-Saharan Africa in two decades.

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    Shinawatra made the pledge during the opening meeting of the 178-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, in Bangkok.

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    She said her government would tighten local controls on Thailand’s local tusk trade by systematically registering domestic elephants and ivory products. Then, ‘‘we will work toward amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end to [the] ivory trade and to be in line with international norms,’’ she said.

    Associated Press