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Asia-Pacific
Storm postpones Philippines summit
Officials deny that terror warnings played any role in decision.
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2006 12:27 GMT

The storm is following close on the
heels of the deadly Typhoon Durian

The Philippines has postponed two high-level meetings of Asian leaders as a powerful tropical storm nears the summit venue on the central island of Cebu.
 
"All leaders' summits have been postponed because of the typhoon," Domingo Lucenario of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), told reporters on Friday.
He added that a meeting of foreign ministers "will push through as scheduled" on Saturday.
 
The postponement to January follows warnings by the US, Britain, Australia and Japan of intelligence reports that "terrorists" werw in the final stages of planning an attack during the summit.
However, Marciano Paynor Jr, head of the summit organising committee, denied that terror warnings played any role in the decision.
 
"Categorically I will state that the decision was based on this weather disturbance and this weather disturbance only," Paynor said, adding there was a 70 per cent chance that tropical storm Utor would hit Cebu province.
 
"The Philippine government arrived at this decision in consultation with the governments of the leaders participating in the summit," Paynor said.
 
Utor, packing winds of 95kph and gusts of up to 120kph over the northwest Pacific ocean, is forecast to make landfall at the weekend. 
 
Its arrival comes just days after Typhoon Durian hit the country, causing flooding and landslides that left more than 1,000 dead or missing.
 
The cancellation comes despite the Philippine weather bureau advising officials that they could go ahead with the two summit meetings - one of Asean leaders on Monday, and on Wednesday a gathering of East Asian leaders.
 
Prisco Nilo, acting chief of the Philippine weather bureau, said he was contacted by the government for advice.
 
"Our recommendation is to go ahead with the summit," Nilo said.
 
"Cebu city will still be affected, but the movement of the storm is to the north of Cebu, and it will be travelling fast. By December 11 it will be over the South China Sea."
 
But Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Philippine president, did not want to take any chances in case Utor changed direction and strengthened into a typhoon, her spokesman said.
Source:
Agencies
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