Myanmar hopes to finish constitution in 2007: minister
Junta has said drafting a constitution is the first of seven steps in a so-called roadmap to democracy that will culminate in free elections.india Updated: Feb 15, 2007 15:50 IST
Military-ruled Myanmar hopes to finish drafting its constitution by the end of this year, the country's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Myanmar's junta has said that drafting a constitution is the first of seven steps in a so-called roadmap to democracy that will culminate in free elections.
Critics say the process is a sham because it does not involve democracy activists such as Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains in detention.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hasan Wirajuda said his visiting Myanmarese counterpart, Nyan Win, told him that Myanmar "hopes to finish drafting the constitution by the end of the year".
"If that really happens, it will be progress in a process that many people say is going too slow," he told reporters after meeting with Nyan Win.
"It would be step forward."
Along with some other countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is losing patience with the slow pace of reform in Myanmar.
Europe and the United States, which view Myanmar as a rogue nation, are urging its neighbors to do more to force change.
Myanmar has been without a constitution since 1988, when the existing 1974 charter was suspended after the military violently suppressed mass pro-democracy protests.
The junta first convened a constitution-drafting National Convention in 1993, but its work was aborted in 1996 after delegates belonging to Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party walked out in protest, saying the military was manipulating the proceedings.
The convention was resurrected in 2004, although Suu Kyi's party is not taking part.