Burma Closer to Chairing ASEAN, Marty Says

09 November, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Globe

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Tuesday said there was a strong sense within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that Burma, also known as Myanmar, could chair the regional grouping in 2014.

Marty told reporters that in July, during the last foreign ministerial meeting of the 10 members of Asean, there was already an “overwhelming sense” that the group should positively consider Burma’s application to chair the group in two years’ time.

Burma, which has a nominally civilian leadership dominated by former generals, wants to take the Asean chair in 2014, swapping with Laos, which was due to take the post in that year.

Burma previously passed up its turn in 2006.

“If you asked me whether we would back Myanmar or not, I am afraid I could not give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer,” Marty said.

Asean leaders are scheduled to make a decision during their Nov. 17-19 summit in Bali.

“But if I were asked how we feel about that in November compared to how we felt in July and how we felt in May, we feel more positive about it, because I have seen this trajectory of positive developments.”

With Indonesia the current chair of Asean, Marty last month visited Burma to assess its appropriateness to chair the group. He was quoted as saying that he had been encouraged by recent reforms there.

Hopes of political change in Burma have increased recently, with efforts by the new government to reach out to opponents including pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.

The new government also eased censorship, unblocked banned Web sites, allowed Internet access for Suu Kyi and dropped its routine broadsides against foreign broadcasters. It also legalized labor unions and the provision of the right to strike.

In a dramatic move, President Thein Sein’s government suspended a controversial China-built hydropower dam project on Sept. 30 because it was “against the will of the people.”

Ethnic activists and environmentalists had denounced the dam, while Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy also had taken up the issue.

The reforms signaled an important foreign policy shift, as Burma has been a source of embarrassment for Asean’s more democratic states.

As chair of Asean, Burma would speak on behalf of the bloc and host scores of meetings including the East Asia Summit, which includes the United States.

The United States and European Union have imposed broad sanctions against Burma for alleged human rights abuses.


 

 

Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arcandra Tahar has said Indonesia plans to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to two South Asian countries — Pakistan and Bangladesh — with the trading values at about US$6 billion for each country.
The population of Komodo dragons in the Komodo National Park has reached 3,012 heads in 2017, according to Sudiyono, head of the park.
Indonesia has formally kicked off negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Turkey in an effort to increase exports.
Indonesia and Afghanistan have committed to boost partnership in improving capacities to maintain peace, while supporting the reconciliation process in the conflict-hit latter country, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said here on Tuesday.
The Indonesian government has imposed zero tariffs on the import of several goods from Palestine since early this year to support its economy, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said.
Indonesia`s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi stated that economic cooperation should be prioritized in ASEAN and India relationship.
Address: 1068 Budapest, Városligeti fasor 26. | MAP |
Phone: (+36-1) 413 3800 Fax: (+36-1) 322 8669
E-mail: embassy@indonesianembassy.hu