ASEAN unhappy with slow pace of reforms in Myanmar | india | Hindustan Times
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ASEAN unhappy with slow pace of reforms in Myanmar

The 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations is struggling to achieve a consensus on how to push Myanmar to reform.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 12:46 IST

Southeast Asian foreign ministers meeting on Bali island said they are unhappy with the slow pace of democratic reform in military-ruled Myanmar, and hope to come up with new ways to force the regime to change.

The 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations is struggling to achieve a consensus on how to push Myanmar to reform, hampered by its long-standing policy of non-interference in member states' domestic affairs.

The grouping is also under pressure from the United States and the European Union to take tougher action against Myanmar, which has promised ASEAN that it is introducing reforms.

"I am not totally happy," Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters late last night. "There are still more things to be done."

Myanmar's poor reputation is not just an embarrassment to ASEAN, but an impediment to stronger trade ties with markets in the European Union and the United States, both of which have imposed sanctions on the country.

Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon said the grouping would like to "see movement in Myanmar," but added there were no plans to kick the country out.

Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman said ministers were searching for a "new formula" for Myanmar, but gave no details of what that might be.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962, and the current crop of generals took power in 1988.

They called elections in 1990 but refused to recognise the results that gave a resounding victory to the political party of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.