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The 14th ASEAN Summit Postponed Until Next Year

8 December 2008 (Readers 687)
Thailand has decided to postpone the 14th ASEAN Summit until next year from the earlier schedule of December 15 to 18 this year. The exact date will be fixed later after consultations with ASEAN Member States.

Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs, Vitavas Srivihok, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would propose that Chiang Mai be used as the venue of the ASEAN Summit in March 2009. The proposal would be submitted to the new government to be formed soon.

He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed all ASEAN countries and ASEAN dialogue partners about the postponement of the summit. As chair of ASEAN until the end of next year, Thailand would try to hold related ASEAN meetings in the country to promote tourism, after it had been affected by the temporary closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Commenting on Thailands decision to postpone the 14th ASEAN Summit, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, thanked the country for weighing carefully all the factors before deciding to postpone the summit. He said that the postponement should not distract ASEAN or detract from what ASEAN was doing for the well-being, livelihood and welfare of the peoples in this region.

Dr. Surin also said that he would explore ways and means of minimizing the adverse impact on the works of ASEAN. Some initiatives and projects in the pipeline by certain ministerial bodies would be given due consideration to proceed without having to wait for the summit.

ASEAN foreign ministers will meet in Jakarta, Indonesia, on December 15 for a special session to mark the ASEAN Charter coming into effect. Thailand will send a representative to attend this meeting, if the new foreign minister has yet to be appointed.

On behalf of ASEAN, at the Plenary of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in late November, Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations, said that ASEAN was going through an exciting period in its evolution to become an ASEAN Community. It is the aim of ASEAN leaders that the ASEAN Charter will provide a legal and institutional framework to make ASEAN a more rules-based, people-centered, effective, and efficient organization.

He pointed out that it is the aspiration of all 10 ASEAN Member States to move ahead towards closer integration with the goal of transforming Southeast Asia into a single market and production base with free movement of goods, services, skilled labor, and freer movement of capital. Through this process of community-building and integration, ASEAN will emerge as a stronger partner for the United Nations in the pursuit of the shared purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

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