US cuts Thai military aid

The US has suspended $24 million in assistance to Thailand following last week's military coup.

    Thailand has traditionally had close military ties with the US

    Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, said on Thursday that US financing of its military sales to Thailand is to be cut off along with US training for Thai military personnel.

    "The United States continues to urge a rapid return to democratic rule and early elections in Thailand," he said.

    US assistance for health programmes will continue, including funds to help prevent the spread of Aids and preparing for a possible bird flu outbreak, McCormack said.

    The Thai military has enjoyed years of close ties to US armed forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The White House has also hinted that so far inconclusive talks with Bangkok on a free trade agreement might also depend on a return to democratic rule.

    EU monitoring

    The EU presidency, currently held by Finland, also reiterated its call for Thailand to return to democracy on Thursday following the coup and said it would keep a close eye on developments there.

    "The European Union attaches great importance to Thailand's speedy return to democracy and constitutional order, legitimised by free and democratic elections to be held as soon as possible," the presidency said in a statement.

    Thaksin Shinawatra, the civilian prime minister, was ousted in a coup on September 19 that followed months of political instability.

    The actions of the new military-appointed government would be evaluated by the EU, particularly "in the area of human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as well as the military leadership's specific assurances to this respect", it  said.

    "The European Union emphasises that it is for the people of Thailand as a whole to decide upon Thailand's future government."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".