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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minister denies PM called for Thailand to give up Asean chair

Minister denies PM called for Thailand to give up Asean chair

Hun Sen only expressed concerns that Bangkok political standoff could threaten forthcoming summit, Khieu Kanharith says

CAMBODIA'S Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith denied reports made by the Bangkok Post Monday that Prime Minister Hun Sen had called on Thailand to give up its temporary chairmanship of Asean.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen never ... made any comment that would impact Thailand's position as chair of Asean," Khieu Kanharith said in a statement released Tuesday.

The statement added that Hun Sen's comments only related to Thailand's ability to host a forthcoming Asean summit in light of current political troubles.

Hun Sen had no intention of disrespecting Thailand but was addressing a broader issue of concern for all Asean members, the statement said.

Khieu Kanharith was responding to a Bangkok Post report claiming that Hun Sen had called for Thailand to abandon its chairmanship of Asean in favour of Singapore or Vietnam.

The article added that it was "unusual" for Asean countries to comment on the internal disputes of their fellow members.

The Cambodian government only wants to see the political situation in Thailand return to normal in order to guarantee peace and harmony among Asean members, the statement said.

An official at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh who requested anonymity told the Post on Tuesday he had no comment on the statement.

He added that Monday's article was credited to Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Thailand said earlier this month that it would go ahead with the scheduled Asean summit, to be held in December  in Bangkok.



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