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Burma: Politics and Government

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of his meetings with the Indian Minister for External Affairs on 3 October and the Chinese Foreign Minister on 29 September on the situation in Burma. (160839)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met with Indian Minister for External Affairs, Mr. Prunab Mukherjee, on 3 October, to discuss the situation in Burma, among other issues. The External Affairs Minister agreed that a process of political reform and national reconciliation must begin in Burma to bring stability and prosperity to the country.

I too raised Burma with the Indian Minister of State, Mr. E Ahamed, and I underlined the important role India could play in persuading the Burmese regime to embrace reconciliation.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also raised Burma in a telephone conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as did my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, during his recent visit to India.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met Chinese Foreign Minister Yang on 29 September in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. He underlined the need to work closely with China on the issue of Burma, including giving full support to Professor Gambari's mission.

China is in a unique position to help positive political change in Burma. To that end, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed Burma with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have kept in touch since with their Chinese opposite numbers by phone and by letter.