We, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN have been informed by our colleague, Foreign Minister U Nyan Win of Myanmar, that the Government of Myanmar had decided to relinquish its turn to be the Chair of ASEAN in 2006 because it would want to focus its attention on the ongoing national reconciliation and democratisation process.  Our colleague from Myanmar has explained to us that 2006 will be a critical year and that the Government of Myanmar wants to give its full attention to the process.

We would like to express our complete understanding of the decision by the Government of Myanmar.  We also express our sincere appreciation to the Government of Myanmar for not allowing its national preoccupation to affect ASEAN’s solidarity and cohesiveness. The Government of Myanmar has shown its commitment to the well-being of ASEAN and its goal of advancing the interest of all Member Countries.

We agreed that once Myanmar is ready to take its turn to be the ASEAN Chair, it can do so.

26 July 2005
Vientiane, Lao PDR