Ahmadinejad to speak at water summit

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the international forum on water security in Chiang Mai on Monday, an embassy official in Bangkok has confirmed.

His scheduled appearance comes as Iran gears up for elections and as world powers press the Islamic republic over its suspected nuclear programme and support for the Syrian regime.

Mr Ahmadinejad, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third straight term in next month's polls, will join regional leaders at the Asia-Pacific Water Summit, which focuses on water security and climate change.

"He will arrive on Sunday in Chiang Mai," an Iranian embassy official in Bangkok said.

Mr Ahmadinejad has challenged the West since taking office in 2005 with his defiance of nuclear inspectors, fierce criticism of the US and Israel, and tough response to opposition protests.

The Water Summit began on Tuesday, with around 1,300 participants attending forums and seminars on water management.

Most heads of state are expected to arrive on Sunday and will give statements during the Leaders' Forum on Monday, when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will preside over the opening ceremony.

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Writer: AFP
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