Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Asian summit to be held in Phuket

By: BangkokPost.com
Published: 21/04/2009

Pattaya mayor Itthiphol Khunpluem failed to convince Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to give the eastern seaboard tourist city a second chance to host the aborted summit of Asian nations on Tuesday.

Mr Itthiphol went cap in hand to see Mr Abhisit on Tuesday morning and asked him to reschedule the summit in Pattaya as soon as possible.

The visit was seen as a bid to restore Pattaya's image as a safe tourist destination, despite the red-shirt rampage which caused the cancellation of the 14th Asean Summit at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Hotel there on April 11.

Mr Itthiphol emerged from the meeting and informed reporters Mr Abhisit told him it was not possible to resume the summits anywhere at the moment because of the political situation.

But Mr Abhisit later attended a cabinet meeting and afterwards announced the cabinet favoured holding the rescheduled regional meeting on the southern resort island of Phuket, a major competitor to Pattaya in the tourist stakes.

He said Asean leaders accepted the need for a resumption of the summits, and had expressed no preference where they should be held.

"We expect the summits to be held in June, possibly in Phuket," he said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said Thailand was consulting the other nine members of Asean as well as dialogue partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and the United Nations, on a new date for the postponed meetings.

"It could be at the end of May, or in June," Mr Tharit said. "There are several alternatives. It will be Thailand's third attempt to host the Asian leaders' meetings. The first, in Chiang Mai was cancelled before it occured because of the political turmoil. The Pattaya meetings collapsed after most leaders had already arrived."

The Pattaya mayor said he also informed the prime minister that the management of the Royal Cliff Beach hotel plans to sue the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, which institgated the red-shirt protests, for 10 million baht in damages because of the cancellation of the regional meeting.

Source: Bangkok Post

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