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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thailand calls for action on Burma

(BangkokPost.com, Agencies)Cebu, Philippines

The failure of a US resolution condemning Burma at the United Nations means Southeast Asian neighbours will have to deal with the dispute, Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram said."I think we should perhaps redouble our efforts to see what we can do to help one another in terms of keeping this matter - give it a regional focus the way it should be - rather than to have it internationalised," he said.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, currently holding its annual summit on the central Philippines island of Cebu, declined to take a position on the US resolution. Indonesia abstained on the resolution, but both China and Russia used their vetoes.China was tight-lipped about Burma's crackdown on pro-democracy activists here at the Asean and East Asian summits. But Beijing was quick to direct criticism at Washington's resolution, which it said did not warrant Security Council attention.

"The situation in Myanmar does not constitute a threat to regional and international peace and security," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua news agency on Saturday. "If the Security Council passed a resolution on the (Burma) issue, that would have exceeded the duties of the Council laid out in the United Nations Charter." The US resolution urged Burma to release political prisoners, move toward democracy and stop attacks against minorities, many of whom are used for forced labour.

Earlier this week, Asean foreign ministers told member-state Burma it must make more progress on its "roadmap" for national reconciliation and democracy. But critics of Burma's hardline rule said the time had come for firmer action from international organisations. "I think the United Nations' human rights council has been examining this issue closely for over a decade, but there has never been any result. That's why we need the Security Council," Debbie Stothard of the Alternative Asean Network on Burma told the Reuters news agency. Read more!

Ex-Khme Rouge denied genocide

Jan 12, 8:11 AM (ET)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) - A former Khmer Rouge leader denied in an interview published Friday that the regime whose extremist policies wiped out much of Cambodia's population in the 1970s committed mass murder.

Nuon Chea, 80, who was second only to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, is expected to go on trial before a joint Cambodia-United Nations tribunal later this year on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

"Why should we have killed our own people? I do not see a reason," the English-language Phnom Penh Post quoted him as saying. "We wanted a clean, illuminating and peaceful regime."
An estimated 1.7 million people died as a result of the 1975-79 communist regime. Some were executed, while others died of starvation, disease and overwork.

None of the leaders have been held accountable for the atrocities. Pol Pot died in 1998, but Nuon Chea and several other top deputies still live freely in Cambodia.

Nuon Chea also said any documents linking him to the regime's crimes "were manipulated," including photographs of human skulls.

"Those photographs with skulls now being presented do not mean a thing. Modern technology can do this," he told the Post, a biweekly published every other Friday.

The comments outraged Youk Chhang, a Khmer Rouge survivor and leading genocide researcher, who called Nuon Chea "disrespectful and arrogant."

"The Khmer Rouge did not regard us as humans. They took away our love, our family, soul, belief. We were not humans in their eyes. We were their enemies," Youk Chhang said. Read more!

UN, Cambodia dig into Vietnam's human trafficking control policy

Delegations from UN agencies and Cambodia flocked to Vietnam for a conference to exchange experience with the host in implementing the Governmental programme on preventing and fighting cross-border women and girls trafficking.

The two-day conference was wrapped up in the southwestern border province of An Giang on Jan. 12, with a call to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Cambodia and Vietnam on this issue.

Cambodian participants said they have learnt a lot from the Government of Vietnam in the implementation of relevant policies such as its 130/CP programme and the neighbouring province of An Giang in implementing these policies, from receiving and taking care of victims and taking preventive measures.

The senior Cambodian Governmental delegation and UN agencies' representatives also paid field-trips to pilot projects in Chau Thanh and Tan Chau districts, where victims have been given help to reintegrate into the local community. (VNA) Read more!

Countries move to narrow gap between ASEAN members


12:43 13/01/2007

VietNamNet Bridge – Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, on Jan 12, underlined the significance of the organisation of the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) summit, saying that the meeting demonstrated their determination to narrow the development gap between them and other ASEAN members.
The PM made the statement during the CLMV Summit held on the sidelines of the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit which is currently being staged in Cebu, the Philippines.PM Dung proposed that the four countries establish a joint co-ordination mechanism and diversify their forms of cooperation, with attention being paid to areas of trade, electricity, mining, rubber and coffee planting.

The PM expressed his wish for Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to work closely with Vietnam to successfully organise the 2nd ASEAN Integration Development Cooperation Forum (IDCF). During the CLMV Summit, the Cambodian, Lao, Myanmar and Vietnamese leaders agreed upon 31 measures for their 2006 action plan, which is aimed at helping them to make full use of their potential and advantages.

They approved a joint statement and decided to hold their next summit in Vietnam late this year. The same day, Deputy PM-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem attended the Ministerial Meeting of CLMV and Japan during which participants discussed measures to enhance friendship and cooperation, particularly in the area of economic-trade.

Japan announced aid of US$52mil to help accelerate economic cooperation with ASEAN member countries. It also said it would provide US$40mil for CLMV, US$20mil of which is allocated to the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle. Japan recommended organising the Ministerial Meeting between Japan and five Mekong sub-region countries in 2007 in Tokyo in order to increase dialogue and cooperation.

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia proposed that Japan continue to support the Development Triangle area, and particularly consider financing the 12 infrastructure projects that they had presented Japan at the first summit of CLV and Japan in November, 2004 in Vientiane.
(Source: VNA)
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