Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Obama Remembers Yingluck :- Thailand coup: US envoy in Bangkok for talks

The most senior US envoy for East Asia is in Thailand for talks with its military government, the highest-level contact since last year's coup.
The US State Department said Daniel Russel would meet political leaders from "all sides" in Bangkok.
Last week, military-appointed lawmakers voted to impeach former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who also faces criminal charges.

The US, an ally of Thailand, has condemned the coup and suspended aid. The military took power in May 2014, shortly after a court removed Ms Yingluck from office. The military said it was acting to restore order after months of protests against Ms Yingluck's elected government.
It has promised reforms and an eventual return to democratic rule, but critics say the army has stifled free speech. Ms Yingluck's party, meanwhile, remains very popular in rural areas.
'Rule of law' Mr Russel, the assistant secretary of state who heads the bureau of East Asian and Pacific affairs, is currently on a scheduled trip to the region, which includes Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Cambodia.
In Bangkok, he will meet "political leaders on all sides, civil society leaders, and others, and will also discuss... our concern for the situation in Thailand directly with the government", said State Department spokesman Jen Psaki.
On Friday, she took note of Ms Yingluck's impeachment and criminal charges,telling reporters  the US believes "the impartial administration of justice and rule of law is essential for equitable governance and a just society".
The US has suspended $4.7m (£3.1m) in military assistance to Thailand since the coup and has called for the resumption of a civilian-led government.
          Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra looks on as she faces
          impeachment proceedings by the military-stacked National
          Legislative Assembly (NLA) at the parliament in Bangkok on 22
          January 2015 Former PM Ms Yingluck was ousted in May 2014 days before the army seized control
Ms Yingluck's impeachment and her criminal charges stem from a controversial rice subsidy scheme, which hit the country's exports hard.
Critics say that it funnelled money to Ms Yingluck's party's power base in the north, but she has defended it as a scheme to help the rural poor and denied her involvement in its day-to-day operations.
Ms Yingluck's supporters say the claims are a bid to remove her from politics.
Last week's developments were the latest in Thailand's ongoing political turmoil, which began in 2006 when the military ousted Ms Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was prime minister then.
Ms Yingluck and Mr Thaksin remain hugely popular among Thailand's rural poor, but are hated by an urban and middle-class elite who accuse them of corruption and abuse of power.
Thailand's troubles
  • September 2006: Army ousts Thaksin Shinawatra
  • December 2007: Pro-Thaksin party wins election
  • August 2008: Mr Thaksin flees Thailand
  • December 2008: Huge anti-Thaksin protests; court bans ruling party; Democrat's Abhisit Vejjajiva comes to power
  • March-May 2010: Huge pro-Thaksin protests; dozens killed in army crackdown
  • July 2011: Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of Mr Thaksin, elected PM
  • November 2013: Anti-government protests begin
  • May 2014: Ms Yingluck removed from office; military launches coup
  • August 2014: Coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha named PM by legislature hand-picked by military

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