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Cablegate: Asean Secretariat Update On Burma and Charter

VZCZCXRO6577
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2960 2960547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230547Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6760
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0996
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8193
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1402
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1413
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1914
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0131
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002960

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DEP FOR EAP, EAP/RSP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS
DEPT FOR EB/ID/OMA
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COMMERCE FOR 4430/[GOLIE]

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ECON PHUM PREL PGV KDEM ID BM
SUBJECT: ASEAN SECRETARIAT UPDATE ON BURMA AND CHARTER

REF: A) Jakarta 2817

1. (SBU) Embassy met with Dhannan Sunoto, Principal Director of the
ASEAN Secretariat's Bureau for External Relations, on October 22 to
discuss the situation in Burma and the latest status of the ASEAN
Charter. UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari had met with ASEAN
Secretary General Ong Keng Yong on October 19, and while Sunoto was

SIPDIS
not privy to their discussions, he did offer an update on the
Secretariat's position on Burma and hopes for the ASEAN Charter, due

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to be signed next month in Singapore.


ASEAN ENGAGEMENT ON BURMA
--------------------------

2. (SBU) Secretariat officials acknowledge that ASEAN does not have
a united strategy on how to deal with Burma, but they continue to
emphasize that economic engagement, not isolation, will lead to
positive change. Secretariat officials agree that ASEAN can serve
as an interlocutor in the Burma issue but feel that, based on past
experience, the Burmese regime would not welcome an official ASEAN
envoy in addition to UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari. Sunoto
opined that the Burmese regime prefers dealing with the UN over
ASEAN, citing Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid's failed effort
to engage with Burma as an ASEAN envoy in 2006. The Burmese
government, after delaying Hamid's visit, barred him from meeting
with top leadership and Aung San Suu Kyi.

STATUS OF ASEAN CHARTER
------------------------

3. (SBU) The Secretariat continues to speculate that member
countries will continue with the ASEAN Charter signing next month as
scheduled but may delay Burma's signature until the next summit (see
reftel A). Given the importance of this milestone in ASEAN
integration, member countries do not want Burma to be a barrier to
progress.

4. (SBU) In an aside, Sunoto also stated that the draft of the ASEAN
Charter is complete from the Secretariat's perspective but worried
that the Thai parliament's review could lead to last-minute changes
and potential delays prior to the Charter signing. The Secretariat
expected the Charter signing to be a primarily symbolic gesture, as
member governments will then have to individually ratify its
contents after the summit. Secretariat officials hope that the Thai
government's more thorough up-front review will not hinder the
signing next month and will lead to a smoother ratification process
after the summit.

HUME

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