N120330a

ASEAN Secretariat briefed by Political Party Secretary

After a full briefing by the ASEAN Secretariat team that arrived in Yangon on 28 March, The ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, today said, “We welcome Myanmar’s initiative in inviting its ASEAN neighbours, dialogue partners and international organisations to observe its by-elections. We are pleased to be here to lend our support to this very significant political process. This significant political process which, we hope, will contribute further to national reconciliation. We are encouraged by the preparations that we have seen and the efforts done to advance and facilitate this democratic exercise.”

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By-Elections Observers and media breifing at Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The ASEAN Secretariat received an invitation on 20 March to observe the Myanmar By-Election to take place on 1 April 2012.  This invitation arrived just a month after Dr. Surin visited Myanmar President Thein Sein and suggested that the Election be open to ASEAN observers, and potentially ASEAN media.

“We will seriously consider having observers from ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat during the April elections,” said President Thein Sein.

But the government had taken steps well beyond expectations.  In addition to ASEAN observers, ASEAN Secretariat, as well as ASEAN media, the government had also invited dialogue partners, the European Union, the United Nations–along with their accompanying media.

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ASEAN Secretariat Team Visits Political Party