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RI calls for restoration of democracy in Thailand

  • Yohanna Ririhena

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sat, May 24, 2014 | 09:46 am
RI calls for restoration of democracy in Thailand Standoff: A pro-government protester points at a soldier during a cleanup at a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok on Friday. Thailand’s ruling military on Friday summoned the entire ousted government and members of the politically influential family at the heart of the country’s long-running conflict, a day after it seized control of this volatile Southeast Asian nation in a non-violent coup. (AP/Wason Wanichakorn) (AP/Wason Wanichakorn)

Standoff: A pro-government protester points at a soldier during a cleanup at a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok on Friday. Thailand'€™s ruling military on Friday summoned the entire ousted government and members of the politically influential family at the heart of the country'€™s long-running conflict, a day after it seized control of this volatile Southeast Asian nation in a non-violent coup. (AP/Wason Wanichakorn)

The Indonesian government has called on military and civilian elements in Thailand to work together to quickly restore the political situation following the takeover of the government by the military.

'€œIndonesia calls on the armed forces of Thailand and the various relevant civilian elements to work together in an atmosphere of reconciliation to quickly restore the political situation in Thailand,'€ Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in a written statement on Thursday night.

Thursday'€™s coup was launched while the military hosted a meeting of political rivals for what was billed as a second round of talks on how to resolve the country'€™s political deadlock.

After two hours of inconclusive talks, armed soldiers detained the participants, including four Cabinet ministers, and army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha appeared on national television to announce the takeover.

Marty said Indonesia was following with deep and profound concern the developments in Thailand.

'€œWithout intending to interfere in the internal affairs of Thailand, as part of the ASEAN Community, in particular the ASEAN Political and Security Community, and in accordance with the Charter of ASEAN which emphasizes adherence to democratic principles and constitutional government, the developments in Thailand merit Indonesia'€™s and ASEAN'€™s attention,'€ Marty said.

Marty added that Indonesia would communicate with Myanmar as chair of ASEAN to mobilize ASEAN'€™s contribution to establishing conditions conducive to the restoration of democratic government in Thailand.

In an interview with the Associated Press on the sidelines of The World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila, Marty also said the situation was a setback and would be inconsistent with ASEAN'€™s collective support for democratic principles and constitutional government.

The Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok has urged Indonesians living in Thailand to be cautious and to stay away from protest areas particularly at night. '€œPlease, stay away from mass meetings,'€ it said in its latest statement on Thursday night.

The embassy also urged Indonesians to carry their identity cards and not wear red, yellow, or black shirts, which could be construed as support for various factions.

The Thai military'€™s takeover of the government Thursday drew criticism from many world leaders.

The Associated Press reported that Washington, which froze US military assistance after Thailand'€™s last coup in 2006 for 18 months until democracy was restored, said it was reviewing military ties and preparing to suspend up to US$10 million in aid to Thailand. It also called for the release of any detained political leaders and voiced concern about media restrictions under the coup.

'€œThere is no justification for this military coup,'€ US Secretary of State John Kerry said. '€œI urge the restoration of civilian government immediately, a return to democracy, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as press freedoms.'€

Australia expressed grave concerns that Gen. Prayuth seized power despite his insistence two days earlier that he was not launching a coup. Canberra said the government was reviewing its relationship with Thailand, a major destination for Australian tourists.

'€œWe need to know the reasons for announcing the coup just days after imposing martial law on the basis that it was not a coup,'€ Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the coup. In a statement issued by his office, he called for an immediate return to constitutional order and the electoral process. He also called for respect for the Thai people'€™s fundamental rights and freedoms.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida strongly urged that democracy in Thailand be quickly restored.

Neighbor Malaysia urged its people to postpone travel to the country for security reasons. The foreign ministry issued a statement expressing hope that all parties would work toward a peaceful solution and that the situation would '€œreturn to a state of normalcy in the near-term'€.

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