US suspends aid to Thailand; US Army chief calls Thai general

The US 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.

PTI| Last Updated: May 24, 2014, 11:44 AM IST

Washington: The US 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 USD 3.5 million in FMF (foreign military financing) and IMET (International Military Education and Training) funding currently. We are reviewing all programs to determine other assistance, which we may suspend," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters yesterday.

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

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

"There are also global and regional programs 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 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.