Ministers discuss Myanmar`s 2014 chairmanship bid

we have to keep supporting Myanmar in implementing more democracy values in the country"
Nusa Dua (ANTARA News) - The foreign ministers of ASEAN member states met here on Tuesday to discuss Myanmar`s bid for the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

"During today`s meeting, I felt there was a positive sentiment among all the foreign ministers about the latest developments in Myanmar. At the same time, all the ministers expressed their wish to see Myanmar maintain its present good momentum," Marty said after attending the ministerial meeting held as part of preparations for the 19th ASEAN SUmmit on November 17-19.

Marty said, during a recent visit to Myanmar, he sensed the country was actually trying to create the conducive conditions required for it chair ASEAN in 2014. "The foreign ministers of a few member states in fact expressed their strong support for Myanmar`s bid," he added.

However, Marty said, a decision on Myanmar`s wish to chair ASEAN would be made at the ASEAN leaders` level. The foreign ministers of ASEAN member states would meet again next Nov 16 to give final recommendation to ASEAn leaders about Myanmar`s proposal.

Earlier, on October 28, Marty visited Myanmar as a representative of the ASEAN chairman and met with the chairman of Myanmar`s National Human Rights Council, U Min Wra, the chairman of Presidential Advisors ,Ko Ko Hlaing, and members of local NGOs, business associations, the media and human rights activists. The minister came to Myanmar to observe the country`s readiness to be Chair of ASEAN by 2014.

The October 28 meeting discussed the progress achieved in Myanmar`s democratization process and heard the views of Myanmar national figures on their government`s request to chair ASEAN in 2014 instead of in 2016 as initially scheduled according to a standing tradition in ASEAN.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Michael Tene said , after his visit in Myanmar, Marty would report his findings to representatives of other ASEAN members. The decision of whether or not Myanmar could be approved as Chair of ASEAN in 2014 would be made together with members of the regional organization.

Asked about the democracy issue in Myanmar, Michael said Indonesia had noticed some progress. "But at the same time, we have to keep supporting Myanmar in implementing more democracy values in the country," he said. (*)