Asean cyclone relief talks likely to be held in Singapore

May 12th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by admin  

Singapore, May 12 (DPA) Foreign ministers from the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) are likely to meet in Singapore soon to discuss measures to support relief and recovery efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar, The Straits Times reported Monday. It is understood that Myanmar has agreed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s offer to host the meeting, the report said, and the country’s foreign minister is expected to attend.

Lee’s offer was conveyed in a letter that Foreign Minister George Yeo wrote to his Myanmar counterpart U Nyan Win Friday.

Asean members have been expressing concern over the devastation in the country, where international observers say the death toll could climb to nearly 100,000. Myanmar’s state-run television said the number of deaths has risen to 28,458.

During the Asean Regional Forum senior officials meeting last week, a foreign affairs ministry statement said Myanmar authorities could set up a coordinating mechanism that would work with the international community and aid groups to access the damage and needs in the affected areas.

It could also facilitate the distribution of humanitarian assistance.

Myanmar maintains the best way to help is to send in aid material but not foreign personnel to deliver the supplies, prompting outrage from the international community.

Invitations for the special Asean foreign ministers meeting have been sent out, the newspaper said. Details are still being worked out.

Asean includes Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

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