Bangkok – The Thai military government on Tuesday welcomed the European Union’s (EU) decision to resume political ties, following a downgrade of relations in response to the country’s 2014 military coup.
“This is pleasant news; it shows that the political tension has loosened up.
“Any leader of the EU members can now invite our leaders to their countries
“This is a result of Thailand’s cooperation with the EU in many areas and our better political climate, and the EU has seen this progress,’’ Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai, told reporters.
Don’s remarks came a day after the 28-member European bloc announced the decision to pursue “gradual re-engagement with Thailand at all levels,” in light of Thailand’s recent decision to conduct general elections in November, 2018.
The election is coming up after several delays.
The bloc will also seek to resume suspended talks on a free trade deal, EU foreign ministers announced in Brussels.
The ruling junta took over in 2014 with a promise to reconcile Thailand after months of street protests, but many Western countries criticized the coup and downgraded relations with Bangkok.
Human Rights Watch, which has accused the junta of human rights violations on many occasions, also welcomed the decision.
“This is a significant move by the EU to prevent Thailand from falling further into military dictatorship.
“This comes at a crucial moment when the junta seeks to delay the promised election and rights abuses remained a daily reality,” Sunai Phasuk, the group’s senior researcher said referring to widespread scepticism of another delay.
The decision follows moves by Washington to normalise ties with Thailand under U.S. President Donald Trump.