Uni alumni blast US ‘meddling’ in coup
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Uni alumni blast US ‘meddling’ in coup

The American University Alumni Association (AUAA) has lambasted the US government for meddling in Thailand’s internal affairs following the military coup last week.

Association president Songsuda Yodmani and members of the association board yesterday spoke out against the US administration.

The move came after the spokesman of the US State Department said the plan for unity, reform and elections presented by coup leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday still lacked clarity, and called for an early election.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday also urged Thailand’s coup leaders to release detainees and call elections soon.

“We urge the Royal Thai Armed Forces to release those who have been detained, end restrictions on free expression, and move immediately to restore power to the people of Thailand, through free and fair elections,” Mr Hagel said at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asian security conference in Singapore.

In his first televised address after announcing the army takeover last week, junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said late on Friday the new military regime planned to work towards returning democracy in around 15 months.

Khunying Songsuda said yesterday the US administration should realise it has begun losing many of its friends in Thailand.

She said the people of the two countries have been trying to promote mutual understanding. But the US government’s position was alienating people and many now felt they had heard enough of the US government’s statements on Thailand’s internal affairs, she said.

Khunying Songsuda said the US government and the US State Department should respect its allies and treat them as equals rather than its colonies.

She said Thailand has never been a colony under control of any country and it will maintain its independence and freedom as a dignified kingdom.

Lt Col Kamol Prachuabmoh, a member of the AUAA committee, said Washington often interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, adding the US administration was ill-advised to adopt such an attitude toward the post-coup situation in Thailand.

Former tourism and sport minister and an AUAA committee member Suvit Yodmani, said the US did not have a proper understanding of the nature of problems and conflicts in Thailand. The proposed 15-month time frame was still too short to undertake national reform.

Responding to Mr Hagel’s comments, Col Winthai Suvaree, spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order, yesterday urged international support and understanding of the military junta’s moves to fix the country’s internal problems.

Thailand has been mired in a multitude of problems for more than nine years, inflicting considerable damage on the country. The NCPO intends to restore unity among people and has to take necessary measures to support its actions. Every measure is based on human rights principles, Col Winthai said.

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