Monday, November 16, 2009

First US -ASEAN Meet :Obama appeal to release San Suu Kyi

US President Barack Obama has made a personal appeal to the Myanmar Prime Minister, General Thein Sein, for the release of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. A White House spokesman said that President Obama took the opportunity of the US-ASEAN meeting to call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. According to observers the fact that the US President has sat down at the same table with a member of the Myanmar military government is a clear sign that America is serious about wanting to re-engage with the region. The first-ever ASEAN-US Leaders meeting held in Singapore after the APEC Leaders' Summit a joint statement after the meeting, which lasted one and a half hours, the leaders also agreed to increase their collaboration and establish an ASEAN-US Eminent Persons Group.It is to support enhanced ASEAN-US cooperation in addressing regional and global issues.The meeting, which included Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein, was the result of a recent change in US policy to directly engage the Myanmar leadership. This is the first time the US President is meeting all of the 10 ASEAN leaders, but the United States and ASEAN have been regular dialogue partners since 1977. This dialogue is held during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting at the foreign ministers level.US President Barack Obama said the US is committed to strengthening its engagement with Southeast Asia.Mr Obama said: "During our meeting, we talked about how the United States and ASEAN worked together as partners within this region and throughout the world. We discussed the importance of the challenge of climate change, nuclear proliferation and working together to support the G20 efforts to promote a sustained and balance global economic recovery. "We reaffirmed the policies I put forward in Tokyo yesterday with regards (to) Burma (former name of Myanmar). We also recognised the need to expand high level engagement on these and other major issues." Abhisit Vejjajiva, ASEAN Chair and Thai Prime Minister, said: "ASEAN also stands ready to be a reliable partner of the US in tackling the various global and regional challenges, whether it is climate change, the Doha Round or counter-terrorism and security issues. This has been a historic meeting and we are happy with the progress this enhanced partnership has achieved." The leaders also discussed Myanmar and welcomed the US policy to engage with the government.ASEAN's leaders also stressed the importance of achieving national reconciliation and emphasised that the general elections to be held in Myanmar in 2010 must be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner in order to be credible to the international community. On climate change, both sides agreed to work closely to ensure the success of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and that the agreed outcome should incorporate long-term cooperative actions to address climate change. ASEAN and the US also recognised the critical importance of adapting to the increasingly severe effects of climate change in the region, and agreed to strengthen collaboration in both research on climate impacts, and development and implementation of appropriate policies and measures. President Obama said he looks forward to a second Leaders' Meeting next year.

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