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Asean calls for lifting of sanctions against Myanmar
PHNOM PENH: Asean will ask sanctions on Myanmar be reviewed and lifted, following encouraging democratisation and reconciliation processes there, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
He said Cambodia made the proposal during the 20th Asean Summit here, and Malaysia supported the move.
"Myanmar has succeeded in holding 46 by-elections recently and the democratisation and reconciliation processes there run smoothly too.
"Asean's constructive engagement with Myanmar has resulted in a fruitful outcome. Myanmar is now accepted as one of the global communities," Najib told Malaysian journalists after attending the first day of a two-day summit at the Peace Palace here.
He said Asean would include its decision on the matter in its communique.
The United States and European Union imposed investment and trade sanctions on Myanmar, following almost five decades of military junta rule in the country.
EU's sanction on Myanmar included an arms embargo, cessation trade preferences and suspension of all aid, with the exception of humanitarian aid.
The military junta was dissolved, following a general election in 2010 and Yangon made several dramatic changes, including opening up the April 1 by-election to the opposition, releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing truces with rebel groups and easing restriction on the media.
Najib said today's meeting had accepted and adopted four documents -– Phnom Penh Agenda for Asean Community Building; Phnom Penh Declaration of Asean: One Community, One Destiny; Asean Leaders' Declaration on Drug-Free Asean 2015; and, Asean Concept Paper on Global Movement of Moderates.
"It is a very ambitious goal for Asean to turn this region into drug-free by 2015, but we are committed to achieve it, as far as possible. It must be supported by all necessary means, including actions and exchange of information," he said.
On the establishment of Asean Community by 2015, Najib said the implementation process had reached 70 per cent at the moment, and the regional grouping needed to further accelerate them as only three years were left.
Development gap needed to be reduced in order to achieve a balance level of development, the small and medium enterprises needed to be supported and the removal of non-tariff barriers that hindered the regional intergration were among the challenges, he said.
On the adoption of Asean's Concept Paper on Global Movement of Moderates which was mooted by Malaysia, the prime minister said Asean supported it as it shared the values of the movement which was against terrorism and extremism while promoting respect of each other.
"Asean wants a road map on the matter to be drawn up, in promoting the Global Movement of Moderates at the regional and global levels," he said.
Asean, a group of 10 nations comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, was set up 45 years ago. -- BERNAMA