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US suspends aid to Thailand after coup

May 24, 2014 10:23 IST

The United States has suspended its military aid to Thailand in the wake of a bloodless coup there, as chief of the US army called his Thai counterpart urging him to return the country to democratic rule.

"We have already suspended approximately $3.5 million in FMF (foreign military financing) and IMET (international military education and training) funding currently. We are reviewing all programmes to determine other assistance, which we may suspend," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on Friday.

Harf, however, said that all aid has not been cut.

The US in 2013 gave $10.5 million in form of bilateral assistance, economic and international security assistance.

"There are also global and regional programmes funding through things like ASEAN, APEC that goes to a number of different countries. One of the things we’re doing right now is going through all of those to call out what actually goes to Thailand, and that just is a process that takes some time," she said.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said that the US Army Chief General Raymond T Odierno called his Thai counterpart General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday and urged him to return the country to democratic rule.

"I am told it was a constructive conversation and the general made it clear that we certainly expect a return to democratic principles in Thailand just as soon as possible, but I won't go into any more detail than that," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

In a travel alert, the US department of state recommended its citizens to reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest and restrictions on internal movements, including an indefinite nighttime curfew throughout Thailand.

The department of state has advised official US government travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Thailand until further notice, the alert said.

Image: Thai soldiers patrol on a road near an army club during a military coup in Bangkok. Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha summoned ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to a meeting on Friday, a day after he seized power in the bloodless coup and said he wanted to restore order following months of turmoil. Photograph: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

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