Ruling won't affect Asean Summit

The attendance by Thai delegates to the Asean Summit, scheduled to take place on May 10 and 11 in Nay Pyi Taw, will not be affected by the constitutional Court's ruling against the prime minister, and a draft statement to be issued at the meeting has already been endorsed, according to the Asean Department.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and most of her deputy prime ministers were stripped of their posts by the Constitutional Court on Wednesday. Permanent secretary for foreign affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow will be the head of the Thai delegation to the 24th Summit.

Asean Department chief Arthayudh Srisamoot had said just before the Constitutional Court's ruling that a representative would attend the meeting.

Mr Arthayudh said there would be no hiccups as preparations had been made for all scenarios. The foreign minister could represent the PM or the foreign ministry permanent secretary could represent Thailand if the minister was also affected by the court's ruling.

He noted the draft statement to be further discussed with other Asean leaders in the Myanmar capital had already been endorsed by the cabinet. This was not against the constitution since it was just a framework and had no binding effect.

He said the Asean summit would also be the last meeting for Indonesian president Susilo Yudhoyono.

He said Asean foreign ministers had prepared a draft statement on Thailand's situation but at the meeting this weekend there might not be any statement issued from any meetings since the Asean leaders had already issued one in January when they met in Japan.

Despite the political hiccups, Thailand is fully engaged in all Asean discussions and has pledged to lead in areas such as human rights promotion and the push for Asean to become a people-centric organisation, among others.

Nay Pyi Taw will host the Asean meeting for the first time since it was accepted into the regional body in 1997.

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