ASEAN won't expel Myanmar: Malaysia | india | Hindustan Times
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ASEAN won't expel Myanmar: Malaysia

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 16:37 IST

ASEAN will continue to try and persuade Myanmar to introduce political reforms, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said on Thursday, but the grouping would not expel Yangon.

"By engaging them, we can try to persuade or influence them, although without much success at present," he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

Syed Hamid, who was picked as envoy by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last December to visit Myanmar said that ASEAN did not have any mechanism to suspend or expel a member.

"At present, once you become a member of ASEAN, generally it is a membership for life.

"There is no procedure or mechanism for dismissing or asking a member country to be suspended or expelled from the organistion," he said.

Malaysia which currently chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will host the group's annual security forum in late July which US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will attend.

Syed Hamid said it was difficult for ASEAN to continuously defend Myanmar, if its leaders were not cooperative.

"We can only inform them (Myanmar) on what they should do as part of ASEAN," he said. Myanmar joined ASEAN in 1997.