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ASEAN nations call for envoy's visit to Myanmar

Singapore and the Philippines have agreed that a proposed visit by an ASEAN envoy Syed Hamid to Myanmar should take place soon.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 15:11 IST

Singapore and the Philippines have agreed that a proposed visit by an ASEAN envoy to Myanmar should take place soon, the Singapore foreign ministry said.

A statement late on Wednesday said the agreement was reached during a meeting in Manila between visiting Foreign Minister George Yeo and his Filipino counterpart Alberto Romulo.

"On the proposed visit of Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid (Albar) to Myanmar as ASEAN's envoy, Minister Yeo and (Foreign) Secretary Romulo agreed that the visit should take place soon and that it should be a meaningful one," the statement said.

Yeo met Romulo and President Gloria Arroyo on Wednesday.

Under international pressure, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at its annual meeting in December signalled its impatience with fellow member Myanmar, whose ruling military has been accused of human rights abuses and political repression.

ASEAN reached agreement with Yangon to allow Syed Hamid to visit the country as its envoy to check on the progress of democracy.

Malaysia is currently the chairman of ASEAN's alphabetically rotating leadership.

Syed Hamid's visit was expected to take place in January but Myanmar said it was too busy moving its capital city to receive him.

The other ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Myanmar's junta brutally crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988 and two years later rejected the result of national elections won by the party of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In November it extended her house arrest by another six months. The Nobel Peace prize winner has already spent more than 10 of the last 16 years under house arrest.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 15:11 IST