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The Nation-Burma will attend Asean-

Subject: The Nation-Burma will attend Asean-EU meeting

The Nation May 20, 1999.

Burma will attend Asean-EU meeting

ASEAN nations and European Union countries will resume a meeting of senior
officials from May 24-27 in Bangkok, ending a lengthy diplomatic dispute
over the presence of Burma, Foreign Ministry spokesman Don Pramudwinai said

The upcoming Joint Consultative Committee meeting, initially scheduled for
November 1997, will resume next week with Burma, the heart of the
controversy, attending.

Burma, along with two other new members, Laos and Cambodia, have yet to sign
the Asean-European Commission Cooperation Agreement, but will attend the
meeting as ''non-signatories to the Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC),''
Don said.

Asean and the EU could not settle their disagreement on the presence of
Burma which became a member of Asean in 1997.

Asean insisted that Burma should be able to attend the meeting as it is an
Asean member while the EU had tried to limit its presence, resulting in the
meeting being postponed from November 1997 to January 1998 and to next week.

Don told reporters that to end the impasse, Asean and the EU agreed that
each side will be represented by their flags on the meeting table and
members of each grouping would sit in alphabetical order.

''Burma, Laos and Cambodia will attend the meeting as Asean members and they
would express their views in the meeting in general topics as they are not
yet signatories of the JCC Agreement,'' Don said.

The objectives of the meeting are to promote cooperation in all aspects
including economic, industrial, commercial, investment, sciences and
technology, environment and education.

Both groupings will discuss cooperation to promote ''partnership for
progress,'' Don said.

The meeting will start on May 25 with meetings of JCC's sub-committees on
trade, economics and industries, science and technology, and forestry. And
the Asean-EC JCC meeting will be held from May 26-27 to exchange views on
promoting cooperation in drug suppression, the environment and culture. They
will also seek ways to help Asean combat the current economic crisis, Don

The EU has banned visas for Burmese leaders due to the dictatorship and
violation of basic human rights in the country.

The Nation