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November 29, 2008

14th Asean Summit:
Host Thailand to decide by Dec 2 whether to delay annual meet

Thai government will decide whether to postpone next month's summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by December 2 after several member countries expressed concern over the protest that has closed the kingdom's two main airports, government news agency TNA quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying Friday.

The anti-government protesters, who seized the Government House compound in late August, stepped up its pressure by occupying Suvaranbhumi International Airport on Tuesday and storming Don Meaung domestic airport Wednesday, which virtually paralysed air traffic in the country.

Thailand’s Asean Affairs Department director-general Vitthawat Srivihok told reporters that there would be a clearer picture by December 1-2 on whether Thailand could host the key regional meeting of Asean leaders next month.

The 14th Asean Summit is scheduled for December 13-18 in the northern city of Chiang Mai.
Vitthawat, admitting that the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport was a major obstacle for the leaders of member countries to fly in, said security measures for the leaders and other participants would not be easy under the circumstances.

He added that the ministry was preparing two options. Either Thailand would proceed with the original schedule in hosting the summit, or the government would delay the event after evaluations indicate that the summit could not run as smoothly as planned.



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