Myanmar vows to uphold Asean ideals (Lead)

July 21st, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, July 21 (DPA) Myanmar ratified the charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) Monday and vowed to uphold its democratic ideals, but dashed hopes of releasing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi within the next six months. The country, vilified for its dictatorial government and human rights abuses, became the seventh of the 10-member regional grouping to ratify the document, which was signed by the leaders in November last year.

“Myanmar’s ratification of the charter demonstrates our strong commitment to embrace the common values and aspirations of the peoples of Asean,” Foreign Minister Nyan Win said.

“It is my honest hope that with the growing momentum of ratification, our common goal and commitment to complete ratification of the charter by all-member states will be realized at the time of our leaders’ summit in Bangkok” in December, he added.

While foreign ministers attending the 41st Asean Ministers Meeting watched, Nyan Win handed over the document to Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, to the applause of observers.

Shortly afterwards, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo said Nyan Win had clarified that Suu Kyi would not be released in the next six months as expected earlier, but after six months from May 2009, the expiry date of the existing one-year detention order.

Yeo, who is also Asean chairman, and other foreign ministers “misunderstood the point made by the Myanmar foreign minister on the limit of the detention period,” a statement said.

The “clarification” was made at the ministers’ meeting Monday afternoon.

Suu Kyi has spent 13 years in detention since 1989. Her house arrest was recently extended.

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