Martial law cannot be lifted: Thai minister
General Boonrawd Somtat said the restrictions on civil liberties could not be removed now in view of the persisting underground political activities.india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 12:10 IST
The political situation in Thailand has still not stabilised enough after the September 19 military takeover to permit lifting of martial law in the country, the country's defence minister told foreign diplomats here.
Briefing Bangkok-based defence attaches, Thai interim Defence Minister General Boonrawd Somtat said the restrictions on civil liberties could not be removed now in view of the persisting underground political activities.
Besides the military attaches, representatives of the Joint United States Military Assistance Group were also present for the briefing on Monday.
"The situation is not stage yet. The government, on the other hand, is being pressurised by foreign states," the minister said.
The top official in the defence ministry who was also present for the briefing assured the diplomats that the government was "speedily trying to resolve this situation and trying to lift martial law as soon as possible."
"We understand that the word martial law, and the use of martial law, is very much disliked by the international community. So in this regard, we will try to resolve this situation as soon as possible," he said.
The military attaches were told that Thailand's coup leaders were committed to the October 2007 deadline for election of a democratic government.
The diplomats were also informed about efforts to tackle the separatist violence in south Thailand.
More than 1,700 people have been killed in the unending violence, which erupted in early January 2004 in Thailand's three Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani bordering Malaysia.