EU suspends cooperation with Thailand over military coup
The European Union on Monday condemned the military takeover in Thailand, saying it was suspending all official visits to the country and shelving important agreements to back up calls for an urgent return to democratic rule.
Following a meeting of EU finance ministers, the 28-nation bloc said it was halting the signing of a partnership and cooperation accord with Bangkok “until a democratically elected government is in place”.
Expressing the EU’s “extreme concern” at developments in Thailand, the ministers said in a statement that the military should restore “as a matter of urgency, the legitimate democratic process and the constitution, through credible and inclusive elections”.
They should also free all political detainees and respect human rights and freedoms, they said.
The EU warned it will keep all cooperation under review for now “and will consider further possible measures” depending on how the situation in Thailand unfolds.
Thailand's military seized power on May 22, saying the move was necessary to restore order after seven months of demonstrations against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra that triggered sporadic violence.
It immediately suspended the country’s constitution and imposed martial law and a nightly curfew.
Political assemblies of more than five people have been outlawed and the military has arrested numerous anti-coup protesters, including a man who was dragged away by undercover officers for reading a copy of George Orwell's “Nineteen Eighty-Four” outside a Bangkok shopping mall on Sunday.
General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, the leader of the military junta, said earlier this month that an interim government would be set up by September to oversee political reforms that will be followed by elections in about a year’s time.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)