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Albright to visit Thailand


      Albright to visit Thailand

      US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
      will visit Bangkok in about two weeks on
      her way back from the Asia-Pacific
      Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in
      Malaysia, Foreign Ministry deputy
      spokesman Kitti Wasinondh said Tuesday. 

      Albright is scheduled to visit the northern
      province of Chiang Mai on Nov 17 before
      travelling to Bangkok the following day, Kitti

      In Bangkok she will discuss bilateral issues
      and cooperation with her Thai counterpart,
      Surin Pitsuwan, as well as ways to tackle
      the economic crisis. 

      Albright comes to Asia as part of a
      delegation accompanying US President Bill
      Clinton, who will participate in the summit
      with other Apec leaders on Nov 17 and 18,
      Kitti added. 

      Apec's ministerial meeting, which Albright
      and Surin will attend, is organised two days
      before the summit. 

      Before visiting Bangkok, Albright will go to
      Indonesia, the first time since the downfall
      of President Suharto, a US ally for several

      When the economic crisis spread to
      Indonesia, rioting and mass protests forced
      Suharto to resign on May 21. He was
      replaced by Vice President B J Habibie,
      but popular unrest and economic distress
      have continued. 

      Last week, about 8,000 Indonesian
      students amassed outside Parliament in
      the largest protest against Habibie since he
      came to power. They demanded a
      transitional government. 

      In recent speeches, Albright has advocated
      that Asian governments follow policies of
      free trade, market economics,
      democratisation and respect for human

      Speaking in Washington on Friday, she
      warned Asian nations against turning to the
      ''false gods of protectionism'' in the search
      for economic revival. 

      Albright also pressed international financial
      institutions to help the countries do more to
      cope with social hardships created by the
      financial meltdown. 

      The Nation