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December 22, 2008

Foreign minister said Thailand ready to host summit, tackle border dispute
Newly appointed Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he is ready to work on two urgent priorities, preparation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations leader meeting (Asean Summit) that Thailand will host early next year and the talks to provide a sustainable settlement of the border disputes with Cambodia, reported government news agency TNA.

During the Asean Foreign Minister's Meeting at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, last Monday, the ministers tentatively agreed that the Summit would be held in Thailand by the end of February.

The meeting fixed the new dates of the 14th Asean Summit and Related Summits on February 24-26, 2008.

However, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo reportedly said the delayed summit may need to be rescheduled as some leaders are unable to make it. He did not mention which leaders would be unable to attend, but said alternative dates being considered include late January and early February.

Thailand, which currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the 10-member bloc, was forced to delay the Asean summit from mid-December to March because of political circumstances, including the blockade of Bangkok's main airports -- Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang -- by anti-government protesters, which left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded.

Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Kasit said apart from the Asean Summit preparation, the highest priority issue was the talks to solve the border disputes with Cambodia.
He said he believed the issue was likely to be solved as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was the first leader who sent congratulation message to Abhisit Vejjajeva after His Majesty the King had given his royal endorsement to the new Thai prime minister, which could be considered a good sign of the warm friendship between the two neighbouring countries.

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