US suspends $3.5M in aid to Thailand

The U.S. has suspended $3.5 million in aid to Thailand following a military coup earlier this week, the State Department said Friday.

The Obama administration is also reviewing the remaining $7 million in assistance it provides annually to Thailand, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Friday.


That aid was not immediately suspended because it is channeled through global and regional programs that disperse resources across borders.

“One of the things we're doing right now is going through all of those to call out what actually goes to Thailand,” Harf said. “And that just is a process that takes some time.”

Under federal law, the U.S. is forbidden from providing aid to countries where democratic governments have been overthrown in a coup. 

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said he was “disappointed” by the military takeover and warned the coup would have “negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship.”

“I am disappointed by the decision of the Thai military to suspend the constitution and take control of the government after a long period of political turmoil, and there is no justification for this military coup,” Kerry said in a statement. 

Kerry also called for the release of Thai political leaders and the reopening of television and media outlets. He urged the military to hold an election, as well.

On Friday, Harf said the Pentagon had been in consistent contact with military leaders in Thailand since the overthrow.

The handling of the situation in Thailand has contrasted sharply with recent military takeovers in Libya and Egypt. The Obama administration purposefully avoided declaring those situations to be coups, allowing the U.S. to continue funneling aid to those countries.