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EU ministers decide to take tough measures over coup

EU foreign ministers are expected to call on Thailand's military rulers to restore democratic rule "urgently" at a meeting on Monday as the bloc takes initial punitive measures against the coup leaders, an EU diplomat said.

Last month, the European Union said there had to be "a clear timetable" for fresh elections after the military ousted the Thai government and imposed martial law. Ministers will "call on the military to restore urgently democratic government and respect human rights and freedoms," the diplomat said.

"It cannot be business as usual," he said ahead of Monday's meeting of all 28 foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Thus, ministers are expected to agree that official visits be suspended, that a partnership and co-operation accord not be signed and that member states review military co-operation with Bangkok.

The meeting will also "signal that there is more to come" if there is no response, said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Last week, head of the military junta General Prayuth Chan-ocha said an interim government would be set up by September to oversee political reforms that will be followed by elections in about a year's time.

He gave few details of the process and insisted Thailand needed a strong military to help steady the country, which has been through many previous coups.


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