ASEAN to issue statement on Thailand’s political crisis: Surapong

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BANGKOK, April 23 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is issuing a statement expressing the regional bloc’s concern over Thailand’s political crisis and urging that a general election be held, Thai caretaker foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said today.

Mr Surapong, concurrently caretaker deputy premier, showed the media a draft statement sent by the Myanmar foreign minister, which is the ASEAN chair this year.

He said the statement is now being signed by each ASEAN member country sequentially and is expected to be completed soon.

Mr Surapong claimed that the statement called on Thailand to solve its political crisis through dialogues and speeding up the election process, saying Thailand is a member of ASEAN and it needs to move ahead with the bloc.

He said ASEAN leaders issued a similar statement in December, adding that awhile ASEAN cannot interfere with the domestic affairs of its member countries, the bloc and the world community is monitoring the situation in Thailand.

Mr Surapong also called on Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to hold talks with protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban before further discussing about the election with the Election Commission (EC).