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November 27, 2008
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November 28, 2008

14th Asean Summit:
Thailand remains undecided as time runs out

Thailand, the current chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) is still considering whether to delay the annual meeting due mid-December or to go ahead while the government is under growing pressure to resign.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat said the government was considering a suggestion from Asean members that the Kingdom postpone the group's upcoming summit due to the political unrest in the country.

“Let see how the situation at home develops," Sompong reportedly told local daily The Nation via telephone from Frankfurt, where he was stranded after Suvarnabhumi Airport was closed by anti-government protesters. He was on his way back from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in Peru.

The Asean summit is scheduled to be held in the northern province of Chiang Mai from December 15-17.

Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam wrote to the Asean headquarters in Jakarta asking Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan to consult the Thai government on the possibility of postponing the summit.

Arin Jira, chairman of the Asean Business Advisory Council, said if he were the foreign minister, he would recommend to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat that he postpone the Asean summit by one or two months.


If the summit were postponed, the annual Asean Business and Investment Summit (Asean-Bis) would also be postponed from December 13-15 in Bangkok.

The long-running political turmoil intensified Wednesday when the anti-government protesters blockaded the country's two main airports.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Thursday evening declared a state of emergency at the airports, authorising police to take back the terminals, but the government, in an apparent change of stance, reported ordered the police to get the protesters out of the airports in a “peaceful manner”.

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