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Surin optimistic on Burma’s Asean chairmanship

(Mizzima) – Asean General-Secretary Surin Pitsuwan told Rangoon journalist on Thursday that he has a positive view of Burma’s chairmanship of the Asian grouping in 2014.

Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, general-secretary of Asean Photo: FacebookHowever, he told journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Rangoon that much remains to be done. He said he is satisfied with Burmese leaders’ preparations for the necessary facilities and infrastructure necessary to house the thousands of people who will attend the Asean summit meeting in Naypyitaw.

Surin ended his four-day visit to Burma along with eight delegates from the secretariat office, after exploring ways for Asean to cooperate with Burma in preparing and coordinating for the event.
“Myanmar’s chair in 2014 will be a critical landmark in the history of Asean,” Surin said. “I think the government is extremely aware about the opportunities, and also they know that they have a lot of work to do – every ministry,” he said. “Our message is that we’re willing to support and share our experiences.”

He said that the Asean secretariat would take senior officials from each Burmese ministry to observe the Asean Summit in Cambodia this year and in Brunei in 2013.

Surin said the cooperation will also extend to Asean dialogue partners comprising the U.S., E.U., Russia, China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

“There are about 2,000 journalists from all over the world who will attend the summit,” he said. “There are questions: does Myanmar have enough accommodations for them?” Other questions involve the state of Burma’s Internet communication network.

On Wednesday, Surin met with Aung San Suu Kyi at her home. In an Asean statement, she urged the grouping to help Burma build bridges to the rest of the world. She expressed optimism that Burma could be a prosperous and advanced member of Asean with its help, despite the long and hard road ahead for reforms in Burma.

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