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Thai PM holds off on lifting martial law

[JURIST] Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] said Tuesday that martial law [JURIST report] will not be lifted in Thailand, as had been anticipated [JURIST report]. Thai Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas said last week that Surayud was contemplating lifting martial law [JURIST report] before leaving for an international summit in Vietnam on November 18, but Surayud said Tuesday that he had been reassured by US diplomats that a continued state of martial law would not be discussed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [official website] summit.

Thailand [JURIST news archive] has been under martial law since the Thai military seized power from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September. The defense minister had indicated that Thailand was concerned that key allies, including the US and Japan, would be "more comfortable" if martial law was lifted before the summit. The US urged Thailand to lift martial law [JURIST report] last month, pulling almost $24 million in funding from the Thai government. The prime minister said Tuesday that he believed that the issue was not an "emergency topic" since it will not be raised at the summit and that he needed more time to consider security issues before deciding whether to lift martial law. Reuters has more.

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