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19 July 2009

Asean Meetings: Security tightened as ministers begin arriving

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Security in the southern Thai resort of Phuket has been tightened as ministers from 27 countries participating in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have begun to arrive, while anti-government protesters have vowed not to hold demonstrations during the meetings, reported Thai News Agency.

Lt-Gen Pichet Wisaijorn, commander of the Fourth Army Region responsible for security in the South, inspected security checkpoints, expressing satisfaction with security preparations people in the province had cooperated well to host the meetings.

Thailand is hosting the 42nd Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM), the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) and the 16th Asean Regional Forum (ARF) from Friday (July 17), running through next Thursday (July 23).

Earleir on Friday, Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said ministers from 27 countries, who will attend the upcoming regional foreign ministers and related meetings in Thailand's Phuket resort, are confident in the security preparations of the Thai authorities.

The ministers from all 27 countries are satisfied with the security measures provided by the Thai security agencies and confident that this will lead to a positive outcome for the negotiations on trade and investment between Asean and its dialogue partners, he said.

The Asean chief added that Thailand has prepared intensified security plans to safeguard the ministers and other participants including reserved planes and optional standby airports in nearby Surat Thani and Hat Yai in case of untoward incidents.




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