Posts Tagged ‘Surin Pitsuwan’
ASEAN countries’ foreign ministers pose during a photo session at the 45th Association of Foreign Ministers’ Plus Three Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 10, 2012. .
When ASEAN leaders gathered in Phnom Penh in early April, the questions surrounding Burma focused on when, rather than if, international sanctions would be lifted. Burma had just staged key by-elections, during which opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi emerged victorious. The feeling from ASEAN officials was that Burma, should be rewarded.
The international community responded. The United States, Australia, the European Union all announced a relaxation of their sanctions. But, for ASEAN, the goal is to have sanctions completely removed.
“I think the U.S. and the EU are adopting two separate strategies,” said Surin. “The EU is suspending sanctions, meaning anything can go, but it can be imposed again. The U.S. is relaxing it step by step, so two strategies. We appreciate that. But we hope that the pace will be quick and that evolution inside Myanmar will warrant a serious reconsideration of the measures put in place for the sanctions.”
Surin rejects suggestions that the international community’s reluctance to completely remove sanctions, is causing friction with ASEAN.
However, some observers have a more blunt assessment.
Thayer says one problem is that ending sanctions is much more complicated than imposing them in the first place.
“Sanctions are so complex because you have to have unanimity in the EU, and in the United States you have congressionally imposed sanctions and U.S. presidential executive orders,” said Thayer. “So in both areas it’s a huge maze. It’s easier to suspend, than it is to get complete unanimity.”
“It was our encouragement, that if you want to chair ASEAN, which is both the responsibility and the prestige and the honor, you will have to do a lot of things, and ASEAN I think has been instrumental,” said Surin. “Now we are helping them. We are opening up opportunities for them. They come and observe meetings like this, meetings like in Indonesia. Working their way into 2014.”
Although ASEAN has a large stake in ensuring Burma’s chairmanship is as trouble-free as possible, Burma’s government, too, stands to benefit domestically from becoming chair. General elections are planned for just a year later, in 2015.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a political analyst at Kyoto University, says, if Burma is serious about staging truly free and fair elections this time around, chairing ASEAN could go a long way to boosting the government’s image, within its own borders.
“I think 2014 is such a crucial year for both Burma and ASEAN. 2014, it would be just only one year before the general election in Burma,” said Pavin Chachavalpongpun. “The fact that the Burmese leadership want the ASEAN chairmanship so much is because this could legitimize the regime so as to be able to win the election in 2015. People might not think it’s important but it’s very important in the context of Burmese politics. To be able to open up the country, to bring a lot of potential ASEAN investors including the ASEAN dialogue partners, this would be a time to showcase Burma. So it would be very much important for Burma.”
Pavin says, by the same token, ASEAN will be just as eager to ensure that Burma’s chairmanship runs smoothly. And, that may mean the priorities for other issues, like human rights, may fall by the wayside.
JAKARTA, April 9 (Xinhua) — ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said on Monday that the region needs to increase cooperation beyond politics and economy, namely sports, drugs issue, environment, education, arts, culture, natural disasters and labor.
“During the 20th ASEAN Summit in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh on April 3-4, sports, drugs issue, environment, education, arts, culture and labor were discussed in order to make sure that we can make ASEAN for its people,” said Pitsuwan at a post-20th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings briefing at the ASEAN Secretariat on Monday.
Therefore, he urged officials to be transparent on things that happened in their countries so that help can come immediately.
“With the mechanism, we can address problems together,” said Pitsuwan.
He took examples of natural disaster and labor issues in several member states.
“Now, disaster is a major challenge of the world. In terms of migrant workers, please do something, move away from labor intensive,” said Pitsuwan.
Chairman’s Statement at the 20th ASEAN Summit on April 3-4 touched on issues of a drug-free ASEAN in 2015, improvement of people’s livelihood, trafficking in persons and people smuggling, the need to ensure effective operation in dealing with disasters, among others.
JAKARTA, April 9 (Xinhua)– ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan on Monday urged leaders of the organization’s member states to quickly implement the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint to accelerate economic growth and close gap between them.
“Out of total, we have ratified 68 percent of the blueprint such as on ASEAN Open Sky and transshipment policy. However, I appeal that the work should not stop in ratification as we have to make them in reality and implementation. If we want to reach the community, we must implement them, not just stopping at ratification. We need to close the gap for equitable economic development,” Pitsuwan told participants of the Post 20th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings Briefing at the ASEAN Secretariat.
He called on legislative bodies, ministries and related institutions to help materialize them.
The secretary general said that the regions must maintain strong relation and cooperation with its dialogue partners, especially from East Asia.
Chairman’s statement of the 20th ASEAN Summit on April 3-4 reiterated commitment of member states to exert maximum effort and ensure timely implementation of the AEC Blueprint measures towards establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
“This would include commitment to undertake the much needed reforms to remove impediments to ensure the implementation of intra-and extra-ASEAN agreements, as well as to strengthen our respective national coordination to effectively implement our AEC Blueprint commitments across various ministries and agencies,” it said.
JAKARTA, April 9 (Xinhua) — Two levels of reconciliations had been achieved in the successful by-election in Myanmar in April 1, the ASEAN top official said here on Monday.
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told audience of the Post 20th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings Briefing at the ASEAN Secretariat that with the success of the democracy process, Myanmar would be no longer “a problem” in ASEAN.
“Inside Myammar, there are two levels of reconciliation. First, the general reconciliation in the body of politics among parties, non parties and private sector,” said Pitsuwan.
And the second is, he said, the reconciliation in the country’ s nationalities.
“I told (democratic leader) Aung San Su Kyi that with her in there, the reconciliation process will somehow be a mutually sportive,” said Pitsuwan.
He said that as now opposition is a part of the government, it would reflect a thing exists in every democracy.
Pitsuwan also said that he has talked to Myanmar president about the democracy process.
“He had told me that the process is more important than result. Many except, recognize and respect the result,” said Pitswan.
He also stressed the importance of successful by-election that was observed by the ASEAN Secretariat.
“While we were observing, we were impressed by development of politics, economy and socio-culture there,” he said.
He also reiterated actions by ASEAN member states to call Western countries to lift sanction on Myanmar.
“Our leaders had stated to call Western countries in a strong, clear, solid and unified voice: please lift the sanction,” he said.
Chairman’s statement of the 20th ASEAN Summit on April 3-4 called for the listing of all sanctions on Myanmar immediately in order to contribute positively to the democratic process and economic development in the country.
Member states also reaffirmed their commitment to extending necessary assistance and cooperation in view of Myanmar’s chairmanship in 2014.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — ASEAN countries want to continue the strong growth without confrontation and instability in the region, Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of the 10-country regional organization said on Thursday.
“Our hope is that we are not going to invite confrontation, competition, instability and insecurity as it has been in the case in other parts of the world,”as the world is recognizing Southeast Asia as a new center of growth, Surin said.
“When competition comes, instability and insecurity come,” he said.
ASEAN groups Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, which Surin described as “a moderate force in the region and global arena”.
The ASEAN secretary general was speaking at the “International Conference on Global Movement of Moderates” in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.
The 3-day conference, which is ending on Thursday, has drawn scholars, diplomats and government officials from 70 countries to talk about moderation, a concept vigorously advocated by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rzazk, as he urged world leaders to combat extremists for world peace in his maiden speech at the UN general assembly in 2010.