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Burma: Association of South East Asian Nations

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken by (a) the UK Government and (b) the EU to engage with the Association of South East Asian Nations Governments on the situation in Burma. (159115)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have been in regular contact with Ministers from Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to explain our position and urge them to remain firm in their support for regional and international action on Burma. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised Burma with his counterparts from Singapore and Thailand in New York on 26 September. I have raised the issue with Ministers and senior officials from Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, raised Burma with the Indonesian Foreign Minister in New York at the UN General Assembly and I held further talks with the Singapore Foreign Minister in Singapore on 22 October.

ASEAN issued a strongly worded statement on Burma on 27 September, in which it expressed its revulsion at the actions of the regime and calling on them to stop using violence against demonstrators.

EU Heads of Mission have carried out demarches in ASEAN member states, calling on them to use their diplomatic influence to encourage the Burmese regime to end the repression of demonstrators and free all political prisoners.