Thai protesters force ASEAN, partners to call off summit again news
11 April 2009

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners, including India, called off their summit in the resort town of Pattaya in Thailand after chaotic anti-government protests that blocked traffic and besieged the summit venue.

Thailand declared a state of emergency after protesters lead by supporters of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra clashed with government activists near the venue of the summit in Pattaya. They also demanded the resignation of incumbent prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Appearing on the television, Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjaijiva said he had declared a state of emergency. ''The task for me and the government is to provide security for the leaders to travel back home safely,'' he said.

ASEAN leaders, who had gathered previously in a luxury hotel for meetings, had to be airlifted from the venue using helicopters after protesters encircled the hotel.

Delegates stranded on the way to the summit venue were also being shifted out of the country.

Delegates from the ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand were to discuss the region's response to the global economic crisis, among other things.

Heads of multilateral lending agencies like World Bank, IMF were also to participate in these deliberations.

The postponement of the India-ASEAN summit, the second time since December 2008, would further delay a free trade agreement between India and the 10-nation trading bloc.

Thailand has been under political unrest since September 2006, when the elected prime minister Shinawatra was removed.

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Thai protesters force ASEAN, partners to call off summit again