Manmohan pushes Myanmar to work for national reconciliation

November 20th, 2007 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

By Naveen Kapoor
Singapore, Nov.20 (ANI): Visiting Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today met his Myanmarese counterpart Thein Sein for 30-minutes here ahead of the sixth India-ASEAN Summit and the third East Asia Summit, and urged him to work for national reconciliation in his country.
The Indian Government’s spokesman, Navtej Sarna, told Indian media persons accompanying the Prime MInister here that New Delhi attached great importance to its relations with Myanmar, which has been in the grip of an opposition pro-democracy protest against the military junta.
He said that both Dr. Singh and Mr. Sein spent their first meeting together discussing issues of bilateral, regional and international importance.
Sein is said to have apprised Dr. Manmohan Singh about the internal developments in his country and the efforts of his government in matters of political reform and national reconciliation.
According to Sarna: The Indian Prime Minister conveyed that the reform process in Myanamar should be broad-based, and should include the involvement of key opposition leader Aung-Su-Kyi and leaders and representatives of various ethnic nationalities. Dr. Singh also said that it should be carried expeditiously towards a satisfactory conclusion.
Tuesday’s interaction between the two leaders came as Singapores proposal to invite the United Nations’ special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to brief East Asian leaders who are meeting here tomorrow was met with strong opposition by other ASEAN countries.
Myanmars unhappiness over the special briefing was at first voiced by its Foreign Minister Nyan Win to his ASEAN counterparts on Monday and later in the evening by Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein during the ASEAN leaders’ informal dinner.
Host Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who held a press conference immediately after the dinner said the special session would not be held after Thien Sein voiced his unhappiness.
Prime Minister Thein Sein made clear the situation is a domestic affair and Myanmar was capable of handling itself. He explained that Gambari had visited Myanmar four times and Myanmar had implemented many of his proposals. He should only report to the UN Security Council and not the East Asia Summit.
In view of Myanmars position, Gambari will not brief ASEAN or East Asia Summit leaders. Singapore will facilitate meetings with interested parties, Lee told reporters.
ASEAN officials said some countries felt that ASEAN matters should stay within the grouping and not involve other countries outside the region.
Singapore then proposed for Gambari to meet with ASEAN leaders and again this was not agreed upon, said an ASEAN official.
Singapore has invited Gambari to have a special session when ASEAN leaders meet their dialogue partners China, Japan and South Korea on the latest developments in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that the ASEAN Charter to be signed by the leaders today would not sideline Myanmar which has been globally criticised for its human rights violations.
India shares a very cordial relationship with the military government and has so far taken a guarded line on the illegal detention of Aung Su Kyi . But there seems to be some shift in the stand, whether it is the mounting pressure from US or a revival of Indias love for democratic leader Aun Su Kyi is not clear. (ANI)

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