President Confirms ASEAN Attendance

JAKARTA ~ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will attend this weekend’s ASEAN summit but will miss the following East Asia gathering due to pressing domestic issues, including plane and ferry disasters, a spokesman said.

Yudhoyono confirmed his attendance at the ASEAN summit a day after a bomb rocked the southern Philippine city of General Santos, killing seven people.

Presidential spokesman Dino Patty Djalal said Yudhoyono was confident the Philippine authorities could assure security during the 12th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cebu.

“The president has no doubts that the Philippine security forces can overcome this,” he told reporters.

He said Yudhoyono would attend the summit on Saturday but return to Indonesia the following day and miss the second East Asia Summit.

“The reason is that there are domestic affairs that need to be handled – natural disasters and transportation accidents such as the Senopati Nusantara (ferry) and the Adam Air case, as well as several other things that need the attention of the president,” Djalal said.

The Senopati Nusantara, carrying some 600 people, sank off Java island nearly two weeks ago while the Adam Air flight went missing over Sulawesi island on January 1. The searches for victims and survivors, as well as to locate the wrecks of the ferry and plane, are continuing.

The East Asia Summit gathers the 10 nations of ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – and China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

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