Friday, August 12, 2011

Will Burma chair the Asean Summit in 2014?

Friday, 12 August 2011 18:26 Mizzima News

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Will Burma’s neighbors give the Asean chair in 2014 to a country that members of the international community are trying to have investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Burma Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin,
left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign
Ministers Meeting in Bali on Thursday,
July 21, 2011. Photo: AFP
The issue will be decided at the 19th Asean Summit meeting in November in Bali, according to Burma’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, who presided at a ceremony in Naypyitaw on Monday to mark Asean Day.

Sources said that an Asean delegation led by Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, the foreign affairs minister of Indonesia, which currently holds the Asean chair, would visit Burma soon to discuss the issue.

The 2014 Asean presidency should go to Laos, but the Burmese government successfully negotiated an arrangement with Laos, which has agreed to swap places with Burma for the chairmanship. In accordance with Asean rules, Burma's turn officially comes up in 2016.

Officials said that because of pressure from the international community over human rights violations and concerns about an undemocratic political system in Burma, Asean is waiting to decide and observing political events in Burma. Originally, the decision was scheduled to be decided at an Asean meeting in May.

In anticipation of approval, Burma has appointed a committee to make preparations to host the Asean Summit in 2014 in Naypyitaw, the new capital.

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