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ASEAN confirms Burma 2014 chair: officials

Burmese officials have said they will chair the regional ASEAN bloc in 2014 after receiving approval from Southeast Asian ministers.

Whether or not the decision has been made official remains unclear: Sit Aye, a legal advisor to President Thein Sein, was quoted this afternoon by Deutsche Presse-Agentur as saying, “As far as I’m concerned it is confirmed,” while Information Minister Kyaw Hsan said the country had received “endorsement” from ministers.

Despite widespread controversy over whether it is fit to take the chair, recent changes in Burma appear to have won plaudits from its neighbours who make up the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The spokesperson for the opposition National League for Democracy, which will tomorrow decide whether or not to register as a party in order to compete in the up-coming by-elections, said the chairmanship could be good for the country.

“Their decision is tantamount to encouraging the present Burmese government to step up the momentum for reforms,” Nyan Win told Reuters.

“I think that Burma’s political activities will become more vibrant after assuming the chair and Burma will also become a quality member of ASEAN.”


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