US envoys call off meeting with political groups in northeast Thailand

US envoys call off meeting with political groups in northeast Thailand
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

US DIPLOMATS in Thailand have called off their plan to meet political groups in the northeastern region following reports that the Prayut government is uneasy about the move, Pheu Thai Party sources said yesterday.

The US embassy officials had scheduled to meet not only the red shirts but other village groups to gather opinions in the northeast last weekend.

Such activity was not unprecedented, as the US embassy staff under then US ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney had also made visits there during her term, the source said.

Former Pheu Thai Party MPs said the MPs and red-shirt leaders had been warned by security officials against giving press interviews that cast a bad light on the government and the National Council for Peace and Order.

"We are ready to comply with the order for the sake of peace in the country.

Our words have fallen on deaf ears [anyway] because the NCPO says it has its own road map for democracy,'' he said.

National Reform Council members can present their opinions and points of view to the US representatives on a personal basis - but not as NRC members, legal and justice reform chairman Seri Suwanpanont said yesterday.

Seri was referring to some NRC members seeking to gather signatures in protest against US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel's call for Thailand to lift martial law and remark that the impeachment of ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra was politically motivated.

Some reformers believed the remarks interfered in Thailand's internal affairs.

Seri said the NRC members had the right to express their opinions - but the council did not have a role in foreign relations.

Although he personally supported the protest, he called on members wanting to express their views to do so on personal basis only.

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