[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
ASEAN MEMBERS IN CATCH-22 SITUATION
Subject: ASEAN MEMBERS IN CATCH-22 SITUATION OVER BURMA ISSUE
ASEAN MEMBERS IN CATCH-22 SITUATION OVER BURMA ISSUE
Bangkok, April 27: Mounting US pressure on Southeast Asian
nations to isolate Burma has put them in the tough spot of having
to choose between backing a neighbour and risking relations with
Washington, officials and analysts said.
They said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was
expected to admit observer nations Burma, Cambodia and Laos as
full members of the group deliberations next month now that the
United States was pressuring them to isolate Rangoon.
Washington last announced economic sanctions on Burma as a
condemnation of the military regime's alleged human rights abuses
and its repression of the democracy movement led by Nobel Peace
Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The US stepped up pressure on
Friday by openly opposing Burma's entry into Asean, state
department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Washington planned to us
its influence with Asean partners to lobby the group.
But Asean countries said the US sanctions and pressure would not
affect Burma's entry into the group. "They can say what they want
to say. We in the Asean have our own stance," Abdullah Badawai,
foreign minister for Malaysia currently the chairman of Asean
said on Sunday "We should know better what's good for our
Philippines foreign secretary Domingo Siazon said it was "normal"
for governments to lobby others. "That's normal but of course we
have taken note of their action," he said on Saturday. "We will
review our position because we have a meeting anyway on May 31 in
Kuala Lumpur to determine and take a decision on the eventual
membership of Cambodia, Laos and Burma."
A Burmese government official said on Saturday he did not know
what Asean would decide, but urged the grouping to "stick to its
guns" and not give in to the United States' pressure. Asean,
founded in 1967 comprises Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
It has traditionally had good relations with the United States
add the European Union both of which are members of the Asean
Regional Forum which discusses security issues. (REUTER)
News and Information Bureau All Burma Students League. (END).