Roche raises Burma in Singapore Talk.
Meeting today in Singapore with the Foreign Minister of Singapore, the Foreign Secretary of the Philippines, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Indonesia, the Minister for European Affairs – Mr. Dick Roche TD – discussed the situation in Burma, and the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi
Minister Roche, who is in Singapore for the EU-ASEAN Summit, reiterated the grave concern of the Irish Government about the situation in Burma and the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi
The people of Burma have made clear their need for democratic change and national reconciliation. If this is to be achieved, ASEAN, the EU and the international community must stand firmly together in pressing for change.
Minister Roche welcomed the constructive role that ASEAN has played following the horrific events that took place in Burma in September.
The Minister urged his three ASEAN colleagues to continue to exert their influence, bilaterally and within the ASEAN framework, to ensure that progress is made on the reform agenda of inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation. The Ministers agreed with Minister Roche on the importance of supporting the role of the UN and the good offices mission of Professor Ibrahim Gambari. In his conversation with the Foreign Secretary of the Philippines, Minister Roche acknowledged President Arroyo’s statement yesterday that her country’s ratification of the Charter would be subject to real movement on human rights in Burma. He also welcomed Indonesia’s offer to share its experience of peaceful transition from military to civilian rule with Burma and, although this offer has not been taken up, he expressed his belief that it was a highly important initiative.
Minister Roche also met with the new EU Special Envoy for Burma – Piero Fassino.
Both Foreign Secretary Romulo and Minister Roche agreed on the importance of expanding our commercial relations - both the Philippines and Ireland are countries for which international trade is essential to our economic well-being. The Foreign Secretary warmly welcomed Ireland’s accession – earlier this year - to the Asian Development Bank (based in Manila) - an important contribution to furthering the objectives of our Asia Strategy.
Minister Roche also welcomed the decision by the Government of the Philippines – conveyed to him by Foreign Secretary Romulo - to open a resident Embassy in Dublin in the course of 2008. He agreed that this would greatly facilitate strengthening our bilateral relations.
Minister Roche told the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Government’s decision to include Indonesia among the eight countries identified in the second phase of the Asia Strategy and to which we will attach a special priority in developing all aspects of our bilateral relationships. The Ministers discussed Indonesia’s current membership of the UN Security Council and agreed that immediate consideration should be given to the holding of bilateral political consultation at senior official level in 2008.
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