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Asean chief sees little obstacle to annual summit

 
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November 5, 2008

Thailand Political Stalemate:
Asean chief sees little obstacle to annual summit

Thailand's ongoing political unrest is not expected to affect the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit to be held mid-December in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thai News Agency quoted Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan as saying Tuesday.

In his meeting with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Sompong Amornvivat, Surin discussed preparations for the 14th Asean summit, especially regarding public relations as several prominent world leaders would attend the meeting as well.

Among the international figures planning to attend the summit include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the president of the World Bank, the chiefs of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), WTO (World Trade Organisation) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Several leading global businessmen are also scheduled to speak on solving the world's economic problems and directions for the future, with Asean and the East Asian countries set to be the key players in solving the problems, Surin said.

The Asean said that he did not believe Thailand's political turmoil would pose an obstacle to the upcoming summit as it is considered a domestic problem.

Because the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) anti-government coaltion continues occupying Government House, coupled with confrontations and occasional violence between protesters and police, and between PAD and pro-government supporters, summit organisers were forced to change the venue of the summit from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

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