The Nation



Govt briefs diplomats on aims of decree; US calls for restraint

In imposing the emergency decree, the government's aim is to limit violence and to empower security agencies to maintain peace and public safety - not to quell protests, foreign diplomats were told yesterday.

Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow yesterday invited diplomats from 65 countries and eight international organisations to hear an explanation of the government's intention in declaring a state of emergency on Tuesday.

"We will continue to exercise prudence and discretion in solving problems and will not deprive the people of their rights," he said.

He said the government has also requested that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights send observers to monitor the government's actions in light of the state of emergency, which he said would adhere to international standards.

In a separate development, the United States on Tuesday urged all sides in Thailand to show restraint and refrain from violence as the US ally imposed emergency rule to tackle mass protests.

Washington condemned violence and called for an investigation into incidents including grenade attacks that have killed one person and injured dozens more.

"We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law," US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

"We encourage all involved to commit to sincere dialogue to resolve political differences peacefully and democratically."

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