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Burma no-show, Thai politics could cause delay

October 18, 2007

Burma no-show, Thai politics could cause delay

Ong stressed, however, that he was only considering the worst-case scenario and said the 10-member Asean is still hopeful the charter can be finalized during the annual summit set for Nov. 18 to 22.
''Myanmar (Burma) is supposed to come, but we do not know what kind of temperamental outburst can happen before now and the summit,'' said Ong, secretary general of the Jakarta-based Asean Secretariat.
''Thailand will be here but if you read their new constitution, there is a restriction on what the Thai government can sign. Under the new Thai constitution it is a requirement that before the
government signs anything, prior approval has to be obtained from parliament.''
Ong said a draft Asean Charter has already been readied by Asean senior officials for the leaders to sign next month.
''The charter is already done and all the difficult arguments about the paragraphs and provisions have already been settled. So it's no longer an issue with regards to the charter.''
''We don't want to delay, we must sign it in this round because if we delay...I am afraid that the momentum may be lost and the charter might not be done.''
As for Burma, which has come under international condemnation for its brutal treatment of democracy protestors, Ong said Asean expects the military junta's leader Than Shwe to attend the summit.

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