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Surin discusses Burma’s Asean chairmanship

(Mizzima) – Burma is actively preparing to take over the Asean chairmanship role in 2014, marking its emergence as an equal member of the Southeast Asian community of nations.

Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, general-secretary of Asean  Photo: Facebook Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and visiting secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, met in Naypyitaw on Tuesday to discus political, security, economic, social and cultural issues to prepare, said The New Light of Myanmar, a state-run newspaper.

Surin is currently making a special visit to monitor the country's latest developments after the new government assumed office in March 2011. In a meeting with President Thein Sein, the two discussed matters relating to political developments and programs for future cooperation in the region.

In the meeting with Wunna Maung Lwin, Surin also discussed Asean’s call for the lifting of unilateral sanctions on Burma by western nations.

Another sensitive topic, which could prove to be a challenge for the Burmese authorities, was the matter of media coverage in Burma. Currently, Burma exercises prior censorship on domestic news media and strictly controls international reporters who work in the country. The government recently delayed implementing more media reforms regarding the coverage of news and other sensitive information. Burma will also host the SEA Games 2013.

Surin is scheduled to make a field trip to the Irrawaddy Region to inspect Cyclone Nargis recovery efforts.

Before wrapping his visit on Thursday, he will also meet members of the international humanitarian community and representatives of local civil society as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, the chairwoman of the opposition National League for Democracy.

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