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ASEAN foreign ministers warned against acceding to any quid pro quo to be the fabled “three monkeys” to see not, hear not and speak not about gross human rights violations and undemocratic practices in Myanmar in return for junta’s skipping its turn to be ASEAN Chair 2006
Media Statement (2)
(Parliament, Tuesday): Myanmar has continued with its ambivalent stand on the question of ASEAN Chair 2006, with the head of its delegation to the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Thung Tun saying that Myanmar is willing to accept the Asean chairmanship next year and is prepared to shoulder the responsibilities but it will listen to its ASEAN friends on the matter.
Could it be that the other ASEAN Foreign Ministers failed to communicate the seriousness of the issue to their Myanmese counterpart, particularly during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Cebu in early April, making it clear that it would be an unmitigated diplomatic disaster and a great economic burden for ASEAN if the Myanmese military junta takes over the ASEAN Chair 2006?
Has the Myanmese military junta been completely impervious to the rising crescendo of regional opinion by ASEAN Parliamentarians and the civil society for the past year, representing the strongest objection to Myanmar’s takeover of the ASEAN Chair 2006 without any meaningful progress in democratization and national reconciliation in Burma such as the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the over 1,000 political prisoners in the Myanmar jails?
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane is not only a critical test for the Myanmar military junta, but even more important, for the credibility of ASEAN as a responsible regional player which could fully pull its weight in international affairs.
The ASEAN foreign ministers must be warned against acceding to any quid pro quo to be the fabled “three monkeys” to see not, hear not and speak not about gross human rights violations and undemocratic practices in Myanmar in return for the Myanmar military junta’s skipping its turn to be ASEAN Chair 2006.
The Vientiane ASEAN Ministerial Meeting communiqué should commit all member countries to protect and promote democracy, human rights, good governance and national integrity, together with an enforceable mechanisms to monitor these commitments.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman