Rangoon (Mizzima) – In anticipation of hosting a 2014 Asean Summit meeting in Naypyitaw, the Burmese government has made plans to form committees, prepare buildings and other contingencies.
The committee chairman is Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, and his committee comprises about 20 members including Union deputy ministers.
At the 18th Asean Regional Forum in July in Bali, Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, the Indonesian minister for foreign affairs told journalists that Asean is still waiting and observing political changes in Burma and a meeting of Asean foreign ministers would decide the question at a later date.
The Burmese government has reportedly informed the Office of the secretary-general of Asean in Jakarta that it is ready to take its turn to chair the 2014 Asean Summit, but the final decision is still being awaited.
In May, at the 18th Asean Summit, Laos supported Burma’s application to chair the summit, but there was international opposition to the application with many parties citing Burma’s political prisoners and human rights violations.
Burma’s turn to chair Asean came up in 2006, but it passed over the opportunity because of controversy surrounding the junta-led government and its human rights record. In fact, the 2014 Asean presidency should go to Laos, but it has agreed to swap places with Burma for the chairmanship. Officially, the Asean chair goes to an Asean country in accordance with the alphabetical order of the member countries. In 2012, Cambodia will chair Asean; in 2013, Brunei.
In addition to the application for Asean chair, the Burmese government has started building various stadiums in Naypyitaw to host the Southeast Asian Games in 2013.
If Burma is granted the rotating Asean chair in 2014, a National Convention Center that was built by a Chinese company is ready to host the summit, said officials. However, observers said that Burma would have much work to do to overcome other challenges to host the summit such as an improved communication system.
The planning committee comprises several sub-committees such as a committee for ceremony, an information committee, transportation committee, health committee, entertainment committee, security committee, finance committee, city development committee and others. The committee would also be charged with choosing subjects to be discussed in accordance with formal procedures and providing translators.