BANGKOK – The US Secretary of State John Kerry has sent a letter to the Thai government urging it to maintain democracy, use negotiations to resolve the current political conflict and avoid further violence and turmoil, caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.
He was speaking after attending a meeting yesterday between caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R Russel and US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney at the Defence Ministry.
Mr Surapong said Mr Russel delivered a letter from US Secretary of State John Kerry to Ms Yingluck in which the US government expressed concern over Thailand’s political situation and the possibility it might face another power grab or military coup.
“The US particularly does not want to see a power grab or military coup,” Mr Surapong said, adding, “if this should occur, they would not be happy about it.”
As Thailand is seen as an important Asean nation, if problems occur in the country, Asean as a whole will inevitably be affected, he said.
Since the government continues to serve in a caretaker capacity, it is prohibited under Section 181 of the charter from jointly issuing announcements or signing any treaties with Asean, he said.
This has resulted in huge losses to Thailand in terms of opportunities to negotiate with other Asean member countries, Mr Surapong said.
He branded anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban’s declaration to “regain sovereign power” as tantamount to a confession of his intention to seize power unlawfully.
Asked if Mr Suthep’s statement could be considered treasonous, Mr Surapong said: “It definitely is because what Mr Suthep is aiming for is not democratic.”
He said Mr Suthep’s speech delivered at the rally stage of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee on Saturday had already been translated into English word-for-word and copies of it have been forwarded to every embassy in Thailand.
“I have already relayed Mr Suthep’s message to every ambassador to Thailand, and when the word-for-word translation of his speech reaches them, they should then realise what it is Mr Suthep is actually aiming for,” Mr Surapong said.
Mr Surapong said that he will consult the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order about how best to deal with Mr Suthep.