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Thai army keeps coup option

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's army chief, General Wimol Wongwanich, has refused to rule out a coup by the military in the future, saying it depended on the behaviour of politicians in power.

'No one wants to stage a coup,' Gen Wimol told the English- language Nation in an interview published yesterday. 'History tells us that each coup was prompted by the country's problems, like corruption . . . no one will be able to stage a coup if all politicians contribute to the country's interest.'

However, the army chief, considered the most powerful military figure in Thailand, which has seen 17 coups and coup attempts since the military forced an end to the absolute monarchy in 1932, said he was teaching his troops more democratic practices.