Bombs won't delay summits
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (C) joins hands with his
Myanmese and Philippine counterparts Nyan Win (L) and Alberto Romulo
respectively as they pose for a group photo with all ASEAN Foreign
Ministers prior to the ASEAN-China meeting held on the sideline of
the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Ministerial Meeting in the central city of Cebu, 11 January 2007. -AFP
A string of overnight bombings in the Philippines' troubled south
will not disrupt the holding of two Asian summits to be attended by 16
leaders in the central province of Cebu, organizers said Thursday.
Foreign ministers from 10 member countries of the Association of
South-East Asian Nations (Asean) opened their meeting as scheduled on
Thursday in Cebu province, 585 kilometres south of Manila, while four
leaders were expected to arrive within the day.
Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said no
changes were being considered in the schedules and venues of the
meetings in the wake of three bomb attacks in the southern cities of
General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato on Wednesday evening.
Seven people were killed and 35 others injured in the bombings. No
group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but foreign
governments had warned that terrorist groups were on the final stages of
plotting an attack in the Philippines during the Asean and East Asian
"I would like to dispel any notion that the recent bombings are
related to the hosting of the Asean summits here in Cebu," Paynor said
in a press briefing.
"The bombings were completely isolated incidents and do not relate to
the summit meetings," he added. "Our venues and all other concerned
areas are safe and secure. The delegates are arriving as scheduled and
the meetings ongoing."
The first bomb blast occurred on Wednesday evening at a lottery
outlet at the public market of General Santos City, 1,080 kilometres
south of Manila, killing six people and wounding 23 others.
More than two hours later, another bomb exploded near a police
outpost in nearby Kidapawan City, wounding six people.