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U.S. Suspends Military Assistance to Thailand

United States suspends $3.5 million in military assistance for Thailand, a response to the army staging a coup in the country.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/24/2014, 12:40 AM

Conflict in Thailand
Conflict in Thailand
Reuters

The United States said on Friday it has suspended $3.5 million in military assistance for Thailand, about one-third of its aid to the ally, after the army seized power.

According to AFP, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the United States was also reviewing the rest of U.S. aid to Thailand - which totaled some $10.5 million in 2013 - to look for further cuts.

"We have already suspended approximately $3.5 million" in funding and training for the Thai military, Harf told reporters.

"We are reviewing all programs to determine other assistance which we may suspend," she said.

Harf added that the United States was looking through its allocated funding for international bodies including the 10-nation ASEAN bloc to identify money directed to Thailand.

The United States has contacted junta leaders to deliver the message, Harf said.

"We urge the immediate restoration of civilian rule, a return to democracy and, obviously, respect for human rights during this period of uncertainty," she said.

What started as a declaration of martial law earlier this week developed on Thursday into a full-fledged military coup in Thailand.

In a statement on national TV, army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the coup, pledging political reforms and saying the cabinet government would report to the military.

Under domestic law, the United States is obligated to suspend assistance to foreign militaries that overthrow elected governments. It did something similar in Egypt,  cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the country after the military’s overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.

Secretary of State John Kerry earlier strongly condemned Thursday's coup, saying there was "no justification" and that the move would have "negative implications" for relations.

Kerry urged the restoration of a civilian government, respect for press freedom and early elections.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)