`Very concerned` US closes embassy in Thailand

Due to Thai violence, US embassy is closed and American citizens services will be available for emergencies only.

Last Updated: May 14, 2010, 09:14 AM IST

Washington: The United States on Wednesday closed its embassy in Bangkok and said it was "very concerned" about the violence between the Thai government and protesters there.

The British embassy in Bangkok will close on Friday amid the violence in the Thai capital, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"The embassy will be closed tomorrow (Friday) but we`ll still have a hotline," the spokeswoman said.

"We`ll be monitoring the situation in Bangkok on a day-by-day basis."

"We`re very concerned, we`re watching it (the violence) very closely," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, adding the US embassy was closed to the public because it is near the trouble.

"It is closed and American citizens services will be available for emergencies only... Essential personnel right now are manning the embassy, but it`s not open," Crowley said.

"We continue to encourage both sides that violence is not the route to resolve these issues. Ultimately, the government and the demonstrators have to get back together again and reach agreement on the path forward," he said.

"The government has to continue to have a dialogue with the demonstrators and they need to reach an agreement on a path forward," Crowley said.

"There are fundamental fissures within Thai society and the only way to resolve this and to develop a civil and inclusive society is through peaceful negotiation," he said when asked if there is a threat to democracy.

Thai "Red Shirt" protesters clashed with troops in the heart of the capital on Thursday, leaving one dead and eight wounded.

The clashes came after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva shelved a plan for November elections and hopes faded for a resolution to a crippling two-month crisis that has sparked periodic violence, leaving 30 people dead and about 1,000 injured.

PTI