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NEWS UPDATES 22 October 2009

Asean chief expects successful summit

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Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan was confident that the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit will be successful and lead to building a strong Asean community by the time of the enforcement of the Asean Charter in 2015, reported Thai state news agency TNA.

The Asean and the related summits are scheduled to be held in the Thai seaside resorts town of Cha-am and Hua Hin October 23 to 25.

Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, while the Plus+3 countries are China, Japan and South Korea, and the Asean+6 – are the 13 plus India, Australia and New Zealand.

Surin said the upcoming regional summit will discuss establishment of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, while the Asean+3 will focus on financial cooperation, response to natural disasters, human resources development and the building of economic community.

"I believe the Asean Summit will be successful and lay the foundation to the strong Asean Community in 2015," said Dr Surin.

Meanwhile, Vitthawat Srivihok, director-general of Thailand's Asean Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will not be able to arrive in Thailand on time for the opening ceremony of the Asean Summit, scheduled on October 23, at 9.45 am.

Vitthawat said Yudhoyono has just sworn in as the president of Indonesia and is forming his cabinet, while Najib is scheduled to deliver a statement on the government's budget to the Malaysian parliament.

"It is understandable that the two leaders cannot attend the Asean opening ceremony and we have been informed about that in advance," said Vitthawat, "All Asean leaders will attend the summit, but will arrive at the meeting venues at different times.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened to ensure order at and around the summit venues in Cha-am and Hua Hin, with about 18,000-strong security force being deployed.


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