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U.S. says concerned with Thailand violence, calls for restraint

Source: Reuters - Thu, 27 Feb 2014 02:35 GMT
Author: Reuters
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WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday expressed concern with increased violence in Thailand and called for restraint by all sides in a conflict that shows no immediate sign of ending.

Thailand has been dogged by nearly four months of around-the-clock violence between supporters of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and protesters who want her out. While the crisis is a long way from the running battles of April and May 2010 when more than 90 people were killed, it has stoked uncertainty and spooked investors.

A bomb blast in a busy shopping district killed two children and a woman, and wounded at least 22 people near an anti-government protest site on Sunday.

"Violence is not an acceptable means of resolving political differences," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing condemning Sunday's blast and calling it "inexcusable."

"We reiterate our call for all sides to exercise restraint and urge Thai authorities to investigate thoroughly and transparently all recent acts of violence," Psaki added.

She said the United States was watching events closely. A State Department official said U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney was actively engaged in efforts to encourage a peaceful and democratic resolution to the tensions.

Anti-government protests have blocked main Bangkok intersections for weeks with tents, tyres and sandbags calling for the resignation of Yingluck and decrying the influence of her billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, an ousted former premier regarded by many as the real power behind the government.

The European and UN also condemned the violence on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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