Romulo reiterates release of Suu Kyi, Myanmar elections this year

January 17, 2010 11:44 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Jan. 17 — The Philippine government expressed anew its concern for “free and credible” elections to be held this year in Myanmar as promised by its leaders, insisting this would make credible Yangon’s professed Roadmap to Democracy.

The matter was pointed out by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, fresh from what DFA described as his “frank and open discussions with his counterparts at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) on Jan. 13 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan has quoted Myanmar as pledging to conduct “free, fair and credible” national elections this year, though the latter is not setting a clear date as it is apparently tied by what to do first with National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest.

”Romulo called on the Myanmar authorities to conduct and ensure a free, fair, credible and all inclusive general election in Myanmar set to be held this year as an indispensable and vital step towards democratization and national reconciliation in accordance with Myanmar’s promised Roadmap to Democracy,” DFA quoted Romulo.

At the FMM, Romulo stressed the need for the Association of Southeast Asian nations to continue speaking with one voice on climate change and sustain its constructive engagement in the negotiations.

Members aim at reaching a legally binding agreement when a follow-up meeting to the Copenhagen conference is due in Mexico later this year.

DFA drove home the point that ASEAN “has a huge stake” in a binding agreement that would come out of Mexico.

Asked to restate what the Philippine position is on climate change that would align it with ASEAN’s “one voice” position on the issue, DFA spokesperson J. Eduardo Malaya declined to oblige.

According to the DFA, Romulo also highlighted the need for developed countries, including the world’s top 10 polluters —which it did not name– to fulfill their commitments to protect the climate system and in particular, to agree to international verification. (PNA)

LDV/GJB

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