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Thailand not facing civil war: Australian FM

05-20-2010 10:02 BJT

CANBERRA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The situation in Thailand has been "very grave" but not bordering on civil war, Australia's foreign minister Stephen Smith said on Thursday.

"I don't want to use a phrase like that," Smith told ABC Radio. "But I do want to underline the very grave, difficult circumstances that Thailand's confronted with."

The situation had deteriorated significantly in the past week, Smith said.

"That's why we have changed our travel advice and why we are constantly monitoring the position."

Smith said the latest violence came after years of political turmoil, and the military had done well so far to stay out of the political process.

"We continue to urge restraint, we regret very much the violence that we've seen, the loss of life and the injuries," Smith said, adding Australia privately and publicly was urging restraint on the part of all sides.

"The last thing that we ... want to see is Thailand revert to military rule and there have been plenty of urgings in recent times for the military to take charge."

Australian citizens have been advised not to travel to Bangkok but the airport was safe for transit.

Six people were killed when the Thai military stormed the Red Shirt protesters' rally site in the capital Bangkok on Wednesday, and curfew is now in place across about one-third of the country.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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