Asean Calls on West to Ease Burma`s Punishment

07 Februar, 2011 | Source: Jakarta Globe

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Sunday appealed to the international community to lift the sanctions and embargoes imposed on Burma in light of “significant developments” that point toward a more democratic system.

photo: Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi emerging from years of house arrest last year. Asean foreign ministers said on Sunday that her release was a `significant development` in Burma`s move toward a democratic (Reuters Photo) system.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Sunday appealed to the international community to lift the sanctions and embargoes imposed on Burma in light of “significant developments” that point toward a more democratic system.

At the first Asean foreign ministers’ retreat under Indonesia’s leadership, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said: “Asean is keen on playing a leading role in ensuring that the sanctions are lifted or at least eased.” The United States and other Western nations have imposed political and economic sanctions on Burma to punish the junta for its poor human rights record and slow move toward democracy. But the release of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the election in 2010 “are sure signs that the country is heading toward a more democratic system,” Marty said.

The election in November — the first for 20 years — was won by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and was fraught with allegations of fraud. It has also been dismissed as a sham by many nations, including Indonesia. As had been widely predicted, Suu Kyi was released one week after the elections, thus making her unable to contest them.

Burma’s main ethnic political parties on Sunday also called for the lifting of economic sanctions as the country’s new parliament prepares to convene for the first time. They said the sanctions “are causing many difficulties in the important areas of trade, investment and modern technologies for the development of ethnic regions.”

Meanwhile, Marty also said that Asean would like to mediate talks between Burma’s junta and the opposition. Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said other state leaders would like to have more access to Burma, particularly to its opposition parties. “We are encouraging the evolution of the political reconciliation inside,” he said. “I think we should have at least equal access to visit, to listen and to give encouragement to all parties.”

Burma’s Foreign Minister U Nyan Win said his country welcomed Asean’s decision to help ease the political pressure against Burma, but declined to comment on the group’s plan to mediate talks with opposition leaders.

Source: Jakarta Globe

 

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