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August 1, 2007

ASEAN working on new dates for Bush meeting
Southeast Asian nations are working on new dates for a summit with U.S. President George W Bush, Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo was quoted as telling Reuters on August 1.

Bush was to have met the leaders of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore in September en route to an Asia-Pacific summit in Australia, but called it off.

"We are working on rescheduling it to a later date because the US president is preoccupied right now with the Iraqi problem," Yeo told reporters in Manila. "We are not settled on a new date yet but we are working on it."

He said the summit would be held by early 2008 and the venue need not necessarily be Singapore. "It's not clear yet, I think we have got to seek a practical approach and see what's convenient for all the leaders."

Yeo was in Manila for an ASEAN ministers' meeting and for a regional forum on July 27 to be attended by 17 other nations including the United States. But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also cancelled her trip to Manila to go to the Middle East, sending her deputy John Negroponte instead. Some regional officials have said the two US no-shows point to the low importance of Southeast Asia for Washington. Reuters

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