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Thai PM assigns deputy to Asean ministerial meeting


July 17, 2008

Thai PM assigns deputy to Asean ministerial meeting

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has assigned deputy prime minister Sahas Banditkul to represent and act on behalf of Thailand in the absence of a foreign minister to sign agreements and attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)’s foreign ministerial meeting in Singapore.

Thailand's foreign ministerial post has been left vacant since Noppadon Pattama resigned from the post to show responsibility for signing the joint statement backing Cambodia's move to register Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

His signing of the statement was ruled a breach of the Constitution by Thailand's Constitution Court.

Thailand Hote

Deputy Prime Minister Sahas had been delegated to attend the 14th Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Singapore and sign relevant agreements to be made there.

He was briefed by ministry officials regarding information needed for the meeting and is scheduled to leave on July 20.

Earlier, Education and Deputy Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said he had not yet been assigned by the premier to enter into negotiations and to sign five Asean agreements at the Singapore meeting.

A key issue put high of the meeting agenda is the succession to the Asean chairmanship by Thailand.

Somchai said he is unworried about possible repercussions if he must sign any agreements without  endorsement by the parliament.

But the matter must be discussed with many parties first to avoid a repetition of the charter violation the former foreign minister faced.

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