Malaysian National News Agency

Malaysia Says No To Economic Sanctions Against Myanmar
September 26, 2007 15:17 PM
NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Bernama) -- Malaysia does not believe in imposing economic sanctions against Myanmar as this will not affect the targeted group but will usually hurt ordinary citizens more, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today.

Any hard or aggressive action would be counter-productive at this stage, he said when commenting on calls by certain countries that economic sanctions be effected against Myanmar for alleged human rights abuses and its relatively slow process of democratisation.

"We think the best way of resolving the issue is to get the constitutional process on track, to get the reconciliation going," said Syed Hamid who is here to attend the 62nd United Nations General Assembly.

He said although the situation in Myanmar was an internal affair, it could not isolate its internal crisis from affecting Asean because Myanmar was an important member of Asean.

"The leadership there must have an open mind and call all parties for discussions. So it would be best if the leadership in Myanmar try to reconcile with the parties concerned," he added.

He hoped that the situation in Myanmar would not aggravate to a level where the international community would have to step in.

Syed Hamid felt that the situation in Myanmar was difficult in that Asean generally did not want to interfere and yet "we want them to find a solution so that Myanmar would not become a burden or embarrassment to Asean".

The minister said the process of democratisation in Myanmar had been very slow even by Asean standards and, to some, the slowness may be regarded as a joke.

He said Myanmar need not follow the Western model of democracy but "we must see some tangible results (soon)".

Myanmar, he said, had invited UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to visit Yangon in October as it appeared that the country did not want Asean to play a direct role in its affairs.

Syed Hamid hoped that Myanmar's problems could be addressed from within the region and not from outside as the consequences may not be that good if handled outside the auspices of Asean.

On his bilateral meeting with Sudan's Foreign Minister Dr Lam Akoi Ajawin, he said that country had asked for Malaysia's help in its reconstruction efforts to provide more schools and water supplies.

At present, Malaysia has provided aid in human capital development through the provision of 137 university scholarships of which 70 were provided by Petronas, the national oil corporation.

On his bilateral meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Abdelwahab Abdallah, Syed Hamid said Tunisia had expressed interest to open an embassy in Kuala Lumpur to increase the level of diplomatic relations.

Abdelwahab also expressed his country's keenness to work with Malaysia on exchanging experiences on tourism and working out a students exchange programme.

On his meeting with United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Zayed Al Nahyan, Syed Hamid said the UAE would like to enhance cooperation in the tourism and education sectors with Malaysia.

Sheikh Abdullah also said the UAE would like to explore areas for investment in Malaysia in biofuel and other alternative fuels.


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