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Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Wednesday, 20 September 2006 15:55 UK

World reaction to Thailand coup

Leading international figures react to the announcement by the Thai military that they have overthrown Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

EU FINNISH PRESIDENCY STATEMENT

The current president of the EU expresses grave concern over the events that have taken place tonight in Bangkok.

It is highly regrettable that democratic institutions seem to have been taken over by military force. Prime Minister Vanhanen emphasises the need to revert to democratic order without delay.

US ENVOY TO THE UN JOHN BOLTON

I think we have made it clear that we expect constitutional processes to be followed.

UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN

This is not a practice to be encouraged. We, as an organisation, have always supported governmental changes through democratic means, through the ballot box...

All I will say is that they should remain calm. Over the past decade or so, they have established a solid democracy and institutions under the leadership of the king. I am sure they will be able to restore that institution and go back to a democratic system as soon as possible.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER JOHN HOWARD

I would want democracy to be restored in Thailand. We condemn military coups. They are a throwback to a past that I had hoped Asia had emerged from, and it's a great disappointment.

NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER HELEN CLARK

New Zealand condemns any process which seeks to overturn a government by unconstitutional and undemocratic means.

New Zealand urges all political and military players to resolve their differences peacefully, and to act in accordance with Thailand's constitution and democratic principles.

JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER TARO ASO

Our country will closely watch the progress of the situation with grave interest.

Our country strongly hopes that the situation will become normal and a democratic political structure will be restored swiftly.

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI

I am really shocked, I didn't expect a coup would have taken place in Thailand.

INDONESIA FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

As a fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the government of Indonesia expects that the principles of democracy, which is an important element of the Asean community thus agreed upon by all member states, would be further upheld.

The Government of the Republic of Indonesia further hopes that the political crisis in Thailand could be resolved amicably and democratically for the greater interest of the people of Thailand.

US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE CHRISTOPHER HILL

Obviously, we want to see what this military has in mind. Any time you get news of military coups, one has to pay attention.

It's very early in the process to be evaluating the state of democracy. I'd rather reserve judgment at this point.

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY MARGARET BECKETT

We are never happy about military attempts to overthrow a government... But we very much hope there will be peace and the situation will be resolved and that some peaceful way out of the problem will be determined.

SOUTH KOREAN VICE FOREIGN MINISTER LEE KYU-HYUNG

The South Korean government hopes that the situation created by the Thai military will be resolved by means that are peaceful and legitimate.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN QIN GANG

The friendly relations between China and Thailand will continue to develop.



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