ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Asean leaders calls on West to end Myanmar sanctions
April 3, 2012
PHNOM PENH : Leaders of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations yesterday called for the West to lift sanctions against Myanmar.
Asean leaders agreed Sunday's by-elections in Myanmar would help open the country to democratic reforms and the West should recognise the achievement by lifting sanctions.
"Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, as the chairman of Asean this year, put forward a proposal to lift sanctions against Myanmar, and this was supported by all the leaders," Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.
It was now Cambodia's job to explain the issue to the West.
Mr Surin said the move to end sanctions against Myanmar came after successful by-elections in Myanmar of which Asean can be proud.
"This is a major step for national reconciliation in Myanmar and it will allow Myanmar to integrate in Asean and the world community," he said.
He said the opening up of Myanmar to the wider world and increasing stability inside the country is also beneficial to Thailand and other Asean members as it would help connect the region to China and India, the two biggest emerging markets.
Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the bloc's leaders have announced the Drug-Free Asean by 2015 programme to eradicate illicit drug production, processing, trafficking and use in the region in the next three years.
Thailand has put itself forward as host for the upcoming Asean ministerial meeting on drugs.
During the leaders' meeting, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asked other Asean countries to work together to tackle the haze problem affecting Thailand's North, and neighbouring countries' border areas.
Thailand will host the Asean meeting on border crossing management on June 13-14 to talk about human trafficking, money laundering and rules and regulations of connectivity, Mr Surapong said.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen yesterday officially opened the Asean Summit calling for all policies to be implemented to ensure the Asean Economic Community comes into being by 2015 as scheduled by Asean member states.
He called for the region to prepare for possible impacts from a financial crisis that may spread from the European Union, and urged finance ministers to speed up the doubling of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation Agreement reserves pool from US$120 billion to US$240 billion.
They should also prepare a plan for the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labour in the bloc.
The region also needs to be better prepared for the possible impacts of natural disasters, as there have been a number of catastrophes in Asean countries in recent years including the Thai floods last year, he said.
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