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Indonesia reminds Myanmar junta of need to hold tranparent elections
Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Asean, including Indonesia, was hoping Myanmar`s upcoming general elections would proceed in a transparent and credible way because only then would the polls be good for the country, reported Indonesian national news agency Antara.
"ASEAN`s and my colleagues` position are quite the same as Indonesia`s (namely) the elections in Myanmar must be credible, transparent and involve all parties, and in line with the norms and rules of democratic elections," he said when explaining the results of the ASEAN summit here on Friday.
He said at the summit, Myanmar Prime Minister, Thein Sein had explained about the development and situation in his country and his country’s readiness to conduct general elections this year.
President Yudhoyono said he also underlined the importance of ensuring smooth elections in Myanmar.
He said many countries from Europe as well as the US and others had often asked for suggestions from Indonesia regarding the best way to ensure a smooth process of democratization in Myanmar.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia`s views conveyed in various forums were valuable inputs. "Indonesia thinks it would be better for us to encourage, support and help Myanmar to ensure the democratization process will run smoothly rather than punishing that country with an embargo and sanctions which can be unproductive," he said.
Indonesia, he said, directly or indirectly had asked Myanmar to conduct democratization through general elections which must be carried out as had been promised so that "the world will believe what it has promised, (they will be) done with a highest degree of transparency."
The President said he had conveyed Indonesia’s wish to the Myanmar prime minister during talks.
Regarding the possibility of raising the press freedom issue in ASEAN member countries, President Yudhoyono said Indonesia kept appealing for the implementation of democratic values, protection of human rights and law enforcement.
"However there are limits to it," he said.
The President said Indonesia was holding a Bali Democracy Forum every year. "I think we need to include the issue in the agenda of the forum," he said.
President Yudhoyono also expressed the need to encourage interaction between journalist communities from one country with another.