'This is disappointing for all heads of government,' Mr Rudd told reporters after returning to Australia. -- PHOTO: AFP
April 12, 2009
Chaos in Pattaya
MELBOURNE - AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Sunday he was disappointed protesters in Thailand had forced the cancellation of a major Asian summit, saying there were 'deep problems' in the host nation.
Mr Rudd was en route to the summit in the beach resort of Pattaya Saturday when his plane was forced to divert mid-flight after anti-government protesters smashed their way into the event venue.
The meeting, at which Mr Rudd would have held important talks on the global financial crisis, was cancelled amid extraordinary scenes of foreign leaders being plucked by helicopter from the roof of their luxury hotel.
'This is disappointing for all heads of government,' Mr Rudd told reporters after returning to Australia.
'There's important business to discuss on the future of the regional economy given the impact of the global economic recession. And we'll have to, of course, reconvene this meeting at a later time.' Mr Rudd said he hoped Thailand would return to political normality soon.
'Obviously there are deep problems in Thai domestic politics at present,' he said.
'I think all friends of Thailand want to see a return to political normality in the kingdom of Thailand.
'It's going to be important for the future for that to occur and we all urge all parties to adhere to peaceful, democratic means to return Thai politics to normal.' Rudd also urged Australians in Thailand to heed warnings in a government travel advisory issued after the latest unrest.
The advisory warns visitors to stay away from political demonstrations and rallies.