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Phuket and Asean: No Decision Yet, PM is Quoted

Phuket and Asean: No Decision Yet, PM is Quoted

Saturday, August 15, 2009
WILL Phuket hold the Asean summit in October or not? Confusion reigned on Saturday after a news agency reported Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as saying that a final decision has not been given but should be known next week.

Malaysia's usually reliable Bernama agency, quoting the government's Thailand News Agency as its source, reported:

''His (the PM's) remarks were made only a day after Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya said that the venue of the summit had been changed from the southern resort island of Phuket to the seaside resort towns of Cha-Am and Hua Hin southwest of Bangkok, but the summit would take place October 23-25 as originally planned.

''Abhisit, however, said the exact venue of the summit is still not decided and said that concerned officials are considering several factors before making the final decision.''

The PM told Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-nob last week that Phuket was ''70 percent certain'' of gaining the Asean Plus Six summit.

However, the following day, Khun Kasit, calling reporters from overseas, said that the decision had been made to hold the gathering at Cha-Am and Hua Hin because of security concerns about Phuket, where the Vegetarian Festival will be staged at the same time.

Today's report carried the clear implication that the PM and the Foreign Minister have not been talking to the same people about the summit . . . or journalists in Bangkok have got it wrong.

Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, which is also due to consider two contentious roads for Phuket that pose environmental issues, may produce a definitive answer.

By Sunday morning, The Nation, which had headed its previous report ''Phuket too dangerous,'' was carrying a more mellow ''Summit venue still hangs in balance.'' Something must be up.

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