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Australia downgrades Thai military ties over coup

May 31, 2014

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said Saturday that it had banned Thailand’s coup leaders from visiting and downgraded military ties with the Southeast Asian country.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister David Johnston announced Australia’s first sanctions in response to the Thai army’s May 22 coup.

“The Australian government continues to have grave concerns about the actions of the military in Thailand,” they said in a joint statement.

The government postponed three training exercises for Thai officers scheduled in Australia in the coming weeks.

Australia will continue to review defense and other bilateral activities, they said.

“The Australian government continues to call on the military to set a pathway for a return to democracy and the rule of law as soon as possible, to refrain from arbitrary detentions, to release those detained for political reasons and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement said.

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