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14 May 2009

Thailand postpones Asean summit again

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The summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six dialogue partners scheduled for Phuket in mid June has been postponed to October, Thai news agency TNA quoted Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya as saying Wednesday.

Initially, the summit was to be held June 13-14 in Thailand’s Andaman Sea resort of Phuket but it must be postponed again to around October, Kasit said.

He said the postponement is necessary because some participating countries are busy with general or by-elections, while leaders of other countries are already committed to visiting other countries next month.

Government leaders of participating nations tried to make adjustments to attend the Asean session next month, but it was not possible for them, he said.

The summit of the 10-member regional bloc and its six dialogue partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand – was originally to be held in the seaside resort of Pattaya April 10-12, but Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cancelled it on April 11 after anti-government protesters stormed the hotel hosting the meeting.

Despite the postponement of the summit, Mr. Kasit said agreements to be signed between ASEAN and its dialogue partners would not be interrupted because they could be handled at the official or ministerial level in July.

Neither the new dates of the summit nor the venue was disclosed by Kasit.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva meanwhile said he regretted the postponement of the summit as Thailand would lose economic opportunities. The premier insisted the Asean leaders' postponement was made based on the schedules of the country leaders and not Thailand's security measures.













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