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Return to democracy: Annan tells Thailand

World leaders too condemned the military coup and asked their respective citizens to stay away from the troubled Asian nation.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2006 21:06 IST

World leaders condemned a military coup in Thailand, urging Thais to embrace the rule of law and their respective citizens to stay away from the troubled Asian nation.

The events unfolded as many world leaders were gathered in New York for the UN General Assembly, including Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who cancelled his scheduled address to the assembly after the coup.

"I don't have the details but this is not a practice to be encouraged," UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said of the coup, on the sidelines of the assembly on Tuesday.

"We as an organisation have always supported governmental changes through democratic means, through the ballot box," Annan told CNN. He urged the Thai people to "remain calm".

"Over the past decade or so they have established a solid democracy and institutions under the leadership of the king.

And I'm sure they will be able to restore that institution and go back to a democratic system as soon as possible," Annan said.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said his country was gravely concerned at the "unacceptable" overthrow of the Thai government.

"We want to see a return to democratic rule," Downer said in New York, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"It's of grave concern for us that the government has been overthrown in this way.

"There was an expectation in Thailand that there would be an election towards the end of this year and it is of concern to us that the military appear to have simply seized power," Downer said.