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Meeting held to ensure bilateral ties with US will remain unchanged

AMBASSADOR Kristie Kenney met ML Pannada Panadda Diskul, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, at Government House yesterday to ensure that relations between the United States and Thailand would continue as normal.

After the meeting, Kenney told reporters that more Americans were visiting the Kingdom as they now had a better understanding of the situation.

Panadda said the US ambassador supported Thailand and wanted unity within the Kingdom. He added that Thailand and the United States had long-standing ties, and Washington wanted them to be maintained.

Since the May 22 military power seizure, the United States has taken a strong stance against the junta for its undemocratic actions against dissidents. Kenney had earlier called for the junta to release political detainees and for people to be allowed their right to express themselves in order to enable inclusive reforms.

Washington also cut military assistance and some training programmes, and said it would review future cooperation, including the joint military exercise Cobra Gold, which Thailand has been hosting since the 1980s. However, general bilateral relations are expected to continue as usual.

Kenney has been meeting with senior officials from time to time, including the junta's deputy chief Thanasak Patimaprakorn, who is overseeing foreign affairs while the country is without a government and a prime minister.


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