On the sidelines of the 24th ASEAN Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on May 11, the foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries have emphasised the need to end the ongoing political crisis in Thailand through dialogue and in full respect of democratic principles and the rule of law.

In a statement before the end of the summit, the FMs reaffirmed the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the development in Thailand issued in Tokyo, Japan on December 14, 2013.

The statement underlined the importance of the democratic process in restoring law and order, promoting national reconciliation and a return to normality in Thailand.

ASEAN member countries expressed their belief that Thailand would overcome its present difficulties and offered to extend all appropriate support based on the principles provided in the bloc’s charter.

Thailand has suffered escalating political tension after its Constitutional Court on May 7 ruled that Yingluck Shinawatra was guilty of abusing her power by sanctioning the removal of a security chief in 2011. She has been stripped of her position, along with nine other members of her cabinet.

Earlier, hundreds of anti-government protesters gathered outside the offices of Thailand’s parliament and the headquarters of five major TV stations in a bid to delay the July 20 election and remove all traces of former Prime Minister Thaskin Shinawatra’s influence from Thai political life.

The rally only took place a few hours after Surachai Liangboonlertchai was elected Thailand’s new Senate speaker on May 9.-VNA