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After Coup

Foreign envoys seek meeting with junta chief

A number of foreign ambassadors - three of them from Asian countries - have sought to meet with junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha as efforts to create a "good understanding" about the power seizure in Thailand appear to be paying off, according to a junta spokesman.

The Asian diplomats are India's ambassador to Thailand and two unnamed envoys from Asean member countries, said Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak, deputy spokesman for the Army and the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

They will soon meet with Prayuth to glean more of an understanding about the political situation in Thailand, Werachon said.

The NCPO has instructed the Foreign Affairs Ministry to help explain the post-coup situation to the international community, he said.

"The ministry needs to take proactive measures with other countries,"

the spokesman said. "Also, Thai expatriates overseas could help foreigners and expatriates to appreciate the situation."

He said Thai businesspeople with overseas connections would also be asked to help.

Recently, Prayuth met with 23 Thai diplomats stationed in 17 countries to discuss how best to explain the NCPO's plans for Thailand.

Prayuth is satisfied as foreign governments and businesspeople seem to have an improved understanding of the May 22 power seizure, Werachon said.

He said Prayuth had attached great importance to reaching out to foreign countries. Special focus had been placed on countries that had downgraded relations or cut aid to Thailand after the coup, including the United States and Australia.

A weekly meeting starting tomorrow will be held with foreign military attaches in Thailand who will be briefed on the latest situation, Werachon said.

In a related development, James Wise, the Australian ambassador to Thailand, said yesterday that most of his country's bilateral ties with Thailand had not been affected by the coup, although Australia had reduced its military engagement with the Kingdom after the takeover.

Wise said three planned military activities had been postponed but the defence and broader bilateral relationships had not been affected.

The ambassador was speaking at the opening of a workshop aimed at improving Thai universities' research outcomes. He said Australia's involvement in the workshop was a clear indication that it would continue to "engage fruitfully" with Thailand.

"This workshop is living proof of our continuing engagement, and living proof that Australia wants to work with Thailand in fields where we can learn from our respective experience," Wise said.


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