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ASEAN praises Myanmar vote

ASEAN praises Myanmar vote

ASEAN’s observers to Myanmar gave a glowing account yesterday of the by-elections con­tested there on Sunday and called for the lifting of sanctions on the long-isolated nation Cambodia, the chair of ASEAN, released a 10-point statement yesterday in which election observers praised the elections ahead of a proposed foreign ministers’ meeting in the country in June.

“The overall environment was calm, peaceful and non-violent,” the statement reads. “Despite complaints of irregularities and intimidation, this delegation did not observe any incidents that might have affected the process or the results of the by-elections.”

According to the ASEAN observers, Sunday’s by-elections were free, fair and transparent, and many voters had told them they believed the country was headed toward reconciliation and democracy.

“The NLD [National League for Democracy] was able to freely undertake its campaign activities, and NLD President Aung San Suu Kyi was able to travel all over the country to rally support for her party,” the statement reads.

“We urge the international community to consider lifting economic sanctions on Myanmar so that the people of Myanmar can enjoy better opportunities in realising their aspirations for peace, national reconciliation, democracy and national development.”

Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday that Myanmar had invited ASEAN foreign ministers to visit the country in June for what he termed a “special meeting”, but did not say whether the invitation would be accepted.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand said the by-elections appeared to be a positive step for Myanmar and ASEAN.

“I’m hoping that this will contribute meaningfully to national conciliation and a reintegration of Myanmar in­to the global community.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Shane Worrell at [email protected]
With assistance from Cheang Sokha

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