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Australia ‘gravely concerned’ by Thailand coup

May 23, 2014

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia is “gravely concerned” about Thailand’s military coup, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Friday, describing it as a “regrettable development” that is prompting her government to review its relationship with the Southeast Asian nation, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

“We need to know the reasons for announcing the coup just days after imposing martial law on the basis that it was not a coup. So we are reviewing the situation, we’re constantly monitoring developments and we are reviewing the implications of the coup on government-to-government relations,” she told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Two days after imposing martial law, Thailand’s military seized control of the nation Thursday, suspending the constitution and detaining Cabinet ministers to end half a year of political upheaval that many fear will only deepen the nation’s crisis.

Bishop said she is concerned for around 28,500 Australians in Thailand and urged them to use a “very high degree of caution.”

“It is a volatile situation — it has been for many months,” she told reporters in Adelaide. “We hope that people stay away from large public gatherings.”

In a statement, Bishop said Australia believes that restoring a democratically-elected government is key to sustainable political stability in the country.

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