Envoy reject's US paper's attack on Thai government

Envoy reject's US paper's attack on Thai government
The sign at the Washington Post in Washington, DC.

THE new Thai ambassador to the United States, Pisan Manawapat, has written a letter to the Washington Post, saying its editorial of February 20 on Thailand's political situation "grossly misrepresented the situation in the country".

The envoy was referring to the Post's editorial entitled "Thailand's ineffective rule by force" which suggested that the Thai prime minister should get the message that in the absence of meaningful steps, starting with the lifting of martial law, the Thai military would lose its relationship with the United States, including future exercises.

It further said that if the Obama administration was unwilling to act, Congress should step in.

In his letter, Pisan said: "Thailand has not wavered in its commitment to democracy.

Progress is being made, and the new constitution's drafting and consultation process must, by law, be completed by September."

After its enactment, Thailand will hold multi-party elections early next year, the letter said.

To prejudge the constitution's contents or even to presume a referendum would not be held was not appropriate, it said.

The talk of delaying the election was in anticipation of time needed to organise a referendum.

"As with every country, Thailand has to balance its national security with respect for civil liberty.

Martial law is necessary to maintain public safety.

Fed up with prolonged street protests and random violence, the Thai public is not affected by this deterrence.

Martial law will, however, have to be lifted before elections to allow vibrant and participatory campaigning."

The letter said there were no political prisoners, and former premier Yingluck Shinawatra would enjoy due process in the Supreme Court.

Thailand's goal was to achieve democratic rule, where key principles such as good governance, transparency and accountability were respected.

Further, anti-human trafficking and anti-child pornography bills to further improve human rights protections were being pushed into law, read the letter.

The letter was on the Post's online edition on February 27.

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