Thailand coup draws swift condemnation; US says reviewing aid

May 23 2014, 08:10 IST
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SummaryThe Royal Thai Army takeover in Thailand drew swift international condemnation on Thursday, with the United States saying it was reviewing its military aid and other dealings with its closest ally in Southeast Asia.

The Royal Thai Army takeover in Thailand drew swift international condemnation on Thursday, with the United States saying it was reviewing its military aid and other dealings with its closest ally in Southeast Asia.

Thailand's army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, seized control of the government two days after he declared martial law, saying the military had to restore order and push through reforms after six months of turmoil.

The military declared a curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., suspended the constitution and detained some politicians. Rival protest camps were ordered to disperse.

"There is no justification for this military coup," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a blunt statement.

"This act will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military. We are reviewing our military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with U.S. law."

European and Asian nations expressed concern over the coup, with Germany, France and Britain issuing statements of condemnation, Japan's foreign minister calling it "regrettable" and Singapore urging all sides to avoid violence.

Kerry said he was concerned by reports that senior political leaders had been detained and called for their release. He urged the "immediate" restoration of civilian government and the lifting of curbs on the media.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "seriously concerned" and appealed "for a prompt return to constitutional, civilian, democratic rule and an all-inclusive dialogue that will pave the way for long-term peace and prosperity."

Under U.S. law, with limited exceptions, no U.S. foreign aid may flow to "any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree."

JOINT EXERCISES IN QUESTION

The Pentagon said it was reviewing its military cooperation, including an ongoing joint exercise in Thailand involving some 700 U.S. Marines and sailors.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that as much as about $10 million in annual bilateral aid could be cut.

For the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the White House has asked Congress to give Thailand $5 million in development aid, $1.9 million for anti-drug and law enforcement programs, $2.1 million for military training and $900,000 for arms sales.

Only funds going to the government would be affected, not those for non-governmental groups and democracy promotion.

After the last Thai coup in 2006, Washington suspended about $24 million in aid, which included funds for military training and peacekeeping. It also cut off military sales.

The political unrest in Thailand is an unwanted headache for

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