Fri 24 Feb 2006
Filed under: News,Regional
February 23: UN special human rights envoy for Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro urged Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to press Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) for democratic transition as promised by the junta, when he visits Burma in March.
The call was made during a recent meeting between Pinheiro and Indonesian Foreign Department officials. He insisted that it is important to raise the issue of transition to democracy and added that it is also vital for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to keep on reminding the junta. Moreover, Pinheiro added that the United Nations is also hoping that ASEAN, China and India will engage in lively talks with the SPDC.
Yudhoyono is due to arrive in Burma for a two-day visit from March 1. “The president will meet with Senior General Than Shwe (SPDC chairman) and the emphasis of the talks will be on bilateral issues” covering diplomatic and economic topics, spokesman Dino Patti Jalal told reporters. He added that Indonesia would “assist, if we are asked by Myanmar (Burma), to implement their road map to democracy.”
Indonesia’s foreign minister said in January that Yudhoyono or a special envoy was planning to visit Burma in order to recount to the junta how Indonesia underwent its own transition from authoritarianism.
Yudhoyono’s visit comes as Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar is trying to finalize a date to go to Burma as an envoy of the ASEAN to check on its progress towards democracy, according to a report by Jakarta Post.