Asean summit likely to be delayed: Singapore minister

December 21st, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, Dec 21 (DPA) The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit may have to be rescheduled from the Feb 24-26 date set in Jakarta last week, The Sunday Times reported, citing Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo.”I thought we had settled it in Jakarta a few days ago, but now I’m told that there are some leaders who can’t make it,” Yeo was quoted as saying.

“There is a certain urgency. We are in the middle of a crisis, and there are some things that we can do to help each other,” said Yeo, stressing the immediate need for the group to meet and work out initiatives to face the impact of the ongoing global economic slowdown on the region.

He cited the May 2000 Chiang Mai Initiative, which allows the 10-nation group to pool foreign reserves to fend off speculative attack on their currencies. The initiative is a network of bilateral currency swap agreements among Asean countries and includes China, Japan and South Korea.

Yeo said Asean leaders were looking to increase the initiative’s total amount substantially, from the current $80 billion.

Though Yeo remained concern that the recent unrest in Thailand might have held back the Asean agenda, he said he had confidence in the commitment the new Thai prime minister had given to Asean.

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