Mon 30 Apr 2007
Filed under: ASEAN,News
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (second right) hits the gong to mark the opening of the 116th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Nusa Dua, Bali, yesterday
Bali: Parliamentary delegations from 126 countries gathered yesterday on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a six-day Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference to discuss issues including the war in Iraq and democratisation process in Myanmar.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wass scheduled to officially open the 116th meeting of the IPU yesterday evening. More than 1,300 members of parliaments from 126 of IPU’s 148 countries, which will also touch other issues, such as global warming, poverty and unemployment, the importance of interfaith harmony in the globalisation era and human rights.
An Israeli delegation refused to attend the Bali conference, following anger among some hardline Indonesian lawmakers, joined by Islamic hardliner groups in the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Iran also did not take part in the IPU meeting held in Jakarta in 2000.
Indonesian House Speaker Agung Laksono said the war in Iraq and human rights abuses in Myanmar are other important issues which expected to attract more attention from most delegations during the six-day annual conference.
“Several delegations have expressed their deep concern over the undemocratic conditions in Myanmar under the military regime there, the sectarian conflict in Iraq and the presence of foreign troops in the war-torn country,” Laksono was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
Laksono said Indonesia would submit a draft resolution on Iraq to the assembly calling for an immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.
“If the draft is accepted, parliaments sending their delegates to the meeting will prompt their respective governments to join force to press the US-led foreign forces out from Iraq and to give more space for conflicting Sunnis and Shiites to end the bloody conflict,” Laksono added.
Djoko Susilo, chairman of the Indonesian Parliamentary Caucus on Myanmar, said that IPU needed to discuss the democratization issue in Myanmar because the country had not gained significant progress in democratisation.
“Attention to the Myanmar issue tends to increase from various countries,” Susilo said. “IPU needs to issue a statement on Myanmar, including on the release of democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.”
Established in 1889 and with its headquarters in Geneva, the IPU, the oldest multilateral political organization, currently has 148 affiliated national parliaments and seven associated regional assemblies.
The world organisation of parliaments also has an office in New York, which acts as its permanent observer with the United Nations.