Thu 27 May 2010
Filed under: International
Brussels – EU efforts to get experts into Myanmar to check democratic conditions for scheduled elections are “not finalised,” foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton’s office said on Thursday.A spokeswoman for Ashton said the English baroness “spoke briefly” with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Nyan Win in Madrid on the sidelines of a dinner gathering the 27 European Union ministers and their 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations counterparts late on Wednesday.
However, spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said that the decision on how far to press for access “is not for the High Representative to take, it’s for member states.
“We would like to do it, but it’s not yet finalised,” she said, stressing that the idea was in the hands of member states’ ambassadors.
A Spanish official warned on Wednesday that such an “exploratory mission” to Yangon to discuss the polls would be “very complicated, very delicate” with “no guarantees” that it would be able to see opposition leaders.
Ashton’s bid followed a joint appeal to Myanmar to make the elections, scheduled by the end of November, “a credible, transparent and inclusive process.”
At the Madrid meeting, the ministers said that “the early release of those under detention would contribute to making the elections more inclusive and help bring about a peaceful political dialogue,” in a reference to detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) has boycotted the polls, as it would have been forced to oust its iconic leader and recognise the junta’s constitution if it had signed up.
NLD members on Thursday marked 20 years since winning Myanmar’s last polls — a result that the country’s military junta, in power since 1962, refused to recognise.
Nobel Peace prize winner Suu Kyi has spent much of the time under house arrest.