Sunday, November 18, 2007

Asean rules out suspending Burma

Asean rules out suspending Burma

The Association of South East Asian Nations has rejected a US Senate call to suspend Burma from the organisation over the crushing of recent protests.
Speaking in Singapore on the eve of Asean's annual summit, Secretary General Ong Keng Yong said he did not advocate a confrontational approach.

"The rest of the world think they know what is good for all of us," he added.

US Senators have called for Burma to be suspended from Asean until it shows an improved commitment to human rights.

Burma's military government has acknowledged that 15 people died during the crackdown on anti-government protests in September, when security forces fired on crowds and thousands of people were jailed.

'Troubled child'

Mr Ong said Burma would sign an Asean agreement this week committing the 10 member states to strengthening democracy and protecting human rights.

Myanmar (Burma) is part of our family and it is the principle involved

Ong Keng Yong
Asean secretary general

But he warned against alienating Burma through suspension.

"Myanmar (Burma) is part of our family and it is the principle involved," he told reporters.

"It's like you as a parent, if you have a troubled child, do you say, 'Go to the sanatorium, go out of the house, I don't want to talk to you'?"

"Our approach is not to take such a confrontational, drastic action, especially when it doesn't yield good results," he added.

The US Senate passed a resolution on Friday night urging Asean to consider "appropriate disciplinary measures, including suspension" against Burma.

"It is now time for Asean to back its words with actions," said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who sponsored the resolution.

Asean is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam


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