File-US Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Roberta Jacobson. (AFP/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI)
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The United States has expressed deep frustration over the lack of democratic progress in Thailand after last year's military coup, saying a new constitution there won't pass the "smell test" unless civil society helps to draft it.Political developments in Thailand came under congressional scrutiny Thursday as a Senate foreign relations panel examined the state of democracy in Southeast Asia.The panel's Republican chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner, and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin voiced particular concern over long-standing U.S. ally Thailand, where a May 2014 military takeover deposed an elected government after a prolonged political unrest.James Carouso, director of the department's office of Southeast Asian affairs, said the U.S. is eager to restore full relations once civilian rule is restored, but it has been "incredibly frustrating" working with Thailand.
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