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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

United States Suspends Some Aid to Thailand, Mostly Military

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 29 September ( Reaffirming the Bush administration’s call for "a rapid return to democratic rule and early elections," the United States suspended today nearly $24 million worth of assistance to Thailand for programs such as military financing, military training and peacekeeping operation as a response to Thailand’s September 19 military coup, it was announce at the State Department press briefing by spokesman Sean McCormack.

The United States wants to see "Thailand get back as quickly as possible onto the pathway of democracy. They are not currently on that pathway. The coup was a set back, it was a real setback for Thai democracy," said McCormack.

About US $9.77 million that does not go directly to the government or has been deemed in the U.S. national interest will continue such as anti-terrorism programs, combating weapons of mass destruction, and fighting communicable diseases, it was announced that the press briefing.

Under the U.S. Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (FOAA), when a country undergoes a military coup, the United States is restricted from providing aid such as foreign military financing, International Military Education and Training (IMET) grants, peacekeeping operations, and military aid that falls under Defense Authorization law.

However, the State Department spokesman added that certain aid programs that fall outside the confines of Foreign Operations Appropriations Act would not be suspended, such as those seeking to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and outbreak of avian flu.

Of the $14 million appropriated to Thailand in fiscal year 2006 under the FOAA, $4.1 million for the Foreign Military Fund and $.13 for the IMET has been suspended.

US $16.3 million under the 2006 Defense Authorization Act too has been suspended, which is "used to train and equip foreign military forces for counterterrorism operations or to participate in operations in which the U.S. military is a participant," it was announced.

- Asian Tribune -

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