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December 25, 2008

Asean Summit:
Thailand sets mid-Feb as new date, venue to be announced later

Thailand has set February 13-15 as the new dates for a delayed summit of Southeast Asian nations in Bangkok, AFP quoted a minister as saying Wednesday.

The foreign ministry had earlier mentioned the dates of February 24-26 for the 14th summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean).

But this plan had to be dropped because it was not convenient for some member nations and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wanted to make it earlier.

"The new summit dates are February 13-15," Boonchong Wongtrairat, deputy interior minister told reporters, adding the exact location in Bangkok has not yet been finalised.

"The government wants (the summit to take place at) Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, but it is already booked, so we will have to negotiate," he said.

The meeting was delayed from mid-December amid political turmoil in Thailand including the occupation of the capital's airports, which led to the toppling of the ruling party loyal to ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Abhisit hopes to project the summit as a sign that normality is returning to Thailand after months of instability.

Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Representatives of Japan, South Korea, China, India, as well as the United Nations secretary general, are expected to attend the 14th Asean summit.

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