Published: Tuesday April 3, 2012 MYT 5:40:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday April 3, 2012 MYT 5:47:40 PM
Asean calls for lifting of sanctions against Myanmar
JAKARTA: In welcoming Myanmar's fair and orderly by-elections on April 1, Asean has called for the lifting of sanctions against the country.
The call was made by Asean Chair, Cambodia, according to a statement by the Asean Secretariat here.
"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," said Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.
Hor said the election process was a step forward towards democratisation, and a positive step.
Myanmar held its landmark by-elections on April 1, witnessed by hundreds of international observers, as well as reporters, the world over.
Meanwhile, Asean secretary-general Dr Surin Pitsuwan said the secretariat was encouraged by the way the by-elections were conducted.
"This is only the first step of a long journey. We want to see Myanmar succeed in this quest, and the Asean family is firmly behind Myanmar, and we are ever ready to share our experiences, and support Myanmar's rebuilding and reconciliation efforts," he said.
The Asean Secretariat responded to Myanmar's invitation to send a five-member observer team, which spent five days in the country talking to voters, government and party officials from the ruling, opposition and independent camps.
The team also consulted with the United Nations and the European Union missions and the media, as well as Asean member states which responded to Myanmar's call to observe the election.
The team was divided into two one deployed in Mandalay and the other in the Yangon region.
Team leader Dr Mely Anthony, frequently reported findings to the Asean secretary-general who is supportive of the people of Myanmar and the country's steps towards reconciliation BERNAMA