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Sunday, April 12, 2009

An unexpected ending for Najib in Pattaya

PATTAYA, April 11,2009 — Bernama

An unexpected ending — that was the description by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the postponement of the 14th Asean Summit and related summits when he walked into the press conference with the Malaysian media here today.

When asked how his day had been, he said: "It has been a frustrating day. I was absolutely prepared to meet them (the other leaders at the summits), I was looking forward to meeting them.

"Unfortunately, that couldn't take place. We were unsure what was going to happen next, so I was in a state of flux," he said.

Najib said he was told of the postponement at about noon.

As the drama was unfolding, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed were having lunch opposite the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel. A Malaysian official who was also present said they saw an unusually large numbers of armed soldiers entering the dining hall.

"When asked what was happening, the Thais simply said reassuringly that the soldiers were taking their lunch break," she said, adding that they were actually sent to provide extra protection to the delegates.

Asked whether he saw the demonstrators, Najib, who was staying on the fifth floor of the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel and Spa, said he could not because of the angle of his hotel room.

At the same time, security officials of the various leaders were running helter-skelter around the hotel to look at alternative arrangements to evacuate them if the situation warranted.

"I was told that they managed to get into the hotel lobby and there was a high degree of mayhem down below. My security boys told me that I could not go down for I was quite keen to go down and see," Najib said.

Najib, when asked if he would be taking a helicopter or a boat out of the resort, he said no.

"I will be taking the normal route... going by car (to the airport)," said Najib, who looked very relaxed despite having to go through the ordeal of preparing for the summits and subsequently the unexpected cancellation.

April 11, 2009 - The latest news from Al Jazeera.

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