Issue Number 157 - ESCAP by pengxuezhi


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                         Issue Number 0157                                      Date: 20 July 2006
              Source                                      Headline                                       Date
                                                REGIONAL - GENERAL
ABC Online                      Anwar Ibrahim a possible candidate for UN Secretary-           19 July 2006
Bangkok Post                    Surakiart to seek support in KL                                20 July 2006
Bangkok Post                    North Korea 'on red alert' after missile test                  20 July 2006
Bangkok Post                    Israel re-establishing the deterrent                           20 July 2006
Bangkok Post                    Coping with zero population growth                             20 July 2006
Bangkok Post                    Close watch on S. Korean businessmen                           20 July 2006                   S Korean foreign minister nominated to lead UN                 17 July 2006
Nation, the                     Burma pressed again                                            20 July 2006
Nation, the                     BIRD FLU - Suphan Buri given 'emergency' status                20 July 2006
Nation, the                     UN concern at emergency decree abuse                           20 July 2006
Peace Journalism                SAARC's Pro-Active Track in the International System           19 July 2006

Thai Day                        Amend decree, urges UN official                                20 July 2006
Bernama                         Asean Mulls Appointing Permanent Rep At Jakarta                19 July 2006
The Daily Star                  Guideline for banks suggested to handle ACU transactions       20 July 2006

PM - Anwar Ibrahim a possible candidate for UN Secretary-General
ABC Online 19 July 2006

PM - Wednesday, 19 July , 2006 18:26:00

Reporter: Mark Colvin
MARK COLVIN: Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has admitted that he's considered the possibility
of becoming the next Secretary-General of the United Nations after Kofi Annan retires.

His name has come up repeatedly in international circles, as a moderate Muslim candidate from Asia. But he says he's not
actively seeking the post, because he feels that doing so would compromise his freedom to speak out on important
international questions.

On the Middle East, for example, Anwar Ibrahim has launched a strongly worded attack on Israel and the United States,
as we'll hear shortly.

It's been an extraordinary journey for Anwar Ibrahim since he was released from prison just over a year-and-a-half ago.

Surgery has helped him recover from the police beating that crippled him in jail, his old nemesis Dr Mahathir Mohammed
is in retirement, and his sodomy charge was overturned.

Today Dr Ibrahim was in Brisbane giving a lecture on Shakespeare, not such a surprise, given that he told me on the day
of his release that he'd read the bard's complete works several times over in jail.

So I started our interview by asking him about the Shakespearean character who waits too long to grasp the
responsibilities of power - Hamlet.

ANWAR IBRAHIM: The so-called weakness is a reflection of the true state of mind of people encountering such problems.

This is philosophical contemplation. He has to bear the whips and scorns of time, and therefore you need to have time to

Is this a weakness? No, but I think I have learned the lesson from Hamlet that you shouldn't take too long a time to
contemplate, because then politically you will lose.

MARK COLVIN: I was going to say, it is a weakness if you leave it too long.

ANWAR IBRAHIM: It's true, it's true. But it is a strength because you should use a lot of time for contemplation, for
reflection, for introspection.

MARK COLVIN: What about yourself? Are you ready to go back into national politics, or even into international politics?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: I'm committed to the reform agenda - reform in Malaysia, and in particularly in the developing world, in
the Muslim world.

My views are known and I think it is more important to talk about the reform agenda, than the actual position, whether
Malaysia or internationally. I don't want to be presumptuous of my role.

MARK COLVIN: But if you have an agenda for reform, you need to be in some kind of position of power in order to carry it
out, don't you. And people are talking about you as a possible UN Secretary-General.

Have you considered it?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: This must be from my erstwhile friends, not enemies. So I have not given serious consideration.

I've thought about it, frankly, but I think it's still premature to decide because I think once you start contemplating with
this, then you start making compromises. I don't want to be in that position.

I've learned my lesson, and I think the trial and tribulations have shown that my passion for freedom and justice is
paramount. If you have the Middle East crisis, I'll express my views, frankly, openly, whether the Americans like it or not.

Where you talk about the reform of the Muslim world, it does not matter if the Arab states or Arab governments are in
favour or not. I will express my views.

MARK COLVIN: So do express your views, please then, on the Middle East crisis now.

ANWAR IBRAHIM: The disgusting episode is when the administration in Washington refuses to condemn the excesses of
Israel, even in terms of their attempt to destroy... complete destruction of a state.

It is fair for them to criticise or to condemn Hezbollah in some of the excesses, but how do you then condone the other? I
mean, in all the deplorable, disgusting, I mean the pathetic to allow countries and civilians being killed.

MARK COLVIN: What can the Lebanese Government do though, given that it's got Hezbollah inside it, and Hezbollah has
refused to disarm and we now discover that Hezbollah has very, very large quantities of arms, and very dangerous ones?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: You engage with the Lebanese Government and allow them to continue this sort of engagement with all

MARK COLVIN: But can Israel do that when rockets are raining down on cities like Haifa?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: The rockets rained down after this month of attack on the Palestinians. You are calling for reaction.

I find it difficult to understand - how do you allow that, how you allow members of parliament and ministers to be
kidnapped, and this is tolerated, because of one or two bombings.

If for example, there is two perpetrators of a crime in Australia, and you're not convinced that the Australian Government
is effective in combating them, do you attack Australia?
MARK COLVIN: So, was Hezbollah justified in beginning this conflict because of what was happening in Palestine?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: I do not want to rationalise or defend any action in this manner. You can condemn, you can take some
action against Hezbollah to try and get them to come to terms and engage, but you can't go and destroy a country. I
mean, it's atrocious.

MARK COLVIN: You have many friends in Washington, including a number who have been labelled neo-conservatives, like
Paul Wolfowitz.

What do they say when you say these things?

ANWAR IBRAHIM: Well, I continue to engage, I mean despite the fact that many of my friends have attacked me severely
or ferociously for being submissive to the neo-cons, I'm not.

To the contrary, I've used the engagement to articulate frankly to them that we are together in terms of promoting
reform and freedom, we are together in securing peace in the Middle East.

I am agreeable, I mean, I support the policy to protect the security of Israel, but I cannot rationalise the continuing
bombardment of Iraq. I cannot rationalise the intransigence of Israel to the Palestinians.

So we have to try and get them to understand and appreciate the concerns are there. You can't treat a group of people as
slaves, but well, I have not been successful. I have been having a few sessions with Deputy-Secretary Zoellick, I continue
to have sessions with Paul Wolfowitz, I'm not giving up.

My small role, again, I'm not presumptuous, but in a small way I try to engage. I told them, I will engage with the neo-
cons, I will engage with the Islamists, because I think there's no other option but engagement.

MARK COLVIN: What are the chances of any kind of reform agenda taking root in the Muslim world, in the current

ANWAR IBRAHIM: I've been an optimist all along, and mind you, the problem is not only by the dictators and tyrants and
authoritarian leaders in the Muslim world.

This has been.... the provocations and the action and the policies of the administration of Washington does not seem to
help - the war in Iraq, the failure to even continue a peaceful engagement in the Middle East.

We... many Muslims are trying very hard, to get the Muslims to reform this internal dynamics within Muslim societies.

The reluctance of United States to encourage engagement between Israel and the Palestinians, this has not helped. It's
only provoked so much anger and rage.

MARK COLVIN: Dr Anwar Ibrahim, who's in Brisbane giving a talk about Shakespeare, speaking to me a little earlier
[This is the print version of story]

Surakiart to seek support in KL
Bangkok Post 20 July 2006


Thailand's candidate for secretary-general at the United Nations will campaign for support from Asian and western
countries which will gather in Kuala Lumpur next week. Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai will be in the
Malaysian capital throughout the week seeking meetings with partners of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(Asean), whose members have already promised support for his bid.

Asean partners include the US, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India and New Zealand. These countries will
meet with Asean on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday under different umbrellas, including the East Asian Summit ad hoc-
consultation, the Post-Ministerial Conference, and the Asean Regional Forum.

Mr Surakiart, who is due to update Asean on Monday, yesterday played down a rumour that Singapore would withdraw its
backing after the US expressed support for the city state's former prime minister Goh Chok Tong. Mr Surakiart said
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had confirmed that he still supported him.
Mr Surakiart and Sri Lanka's candidate Jayantha Dhanapala gave their ideas on UN reform to the Security Council in New
York last week.

South Korea's candidate, Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon, and India's candidate Shashi Tharoor will speak to the 15-member
body next week.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon was expected to propose that the Asean chair be given more room
to engage Burma and send a message to the international community that the Asean way of doing so remained relevant,
said Asean Department head Nopadol Gunavibool.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar was denied access to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to
Rangoon in March.

The Philippines takes its turn as Asean chair after the forthcoming meeting.

To strengthen Asean, Thailand would propose private sector involvement in minimising the development gap between old
and new members, and enhancement of ICT and transport links, he said.

With regard to the Asean Regional Forum (ARF), Thailand would seek a more flexible term of reference for 'Friends of the
Chair' so that Asean members could play a more influential role as chair of the 25-member security forum.

The ARF comprises Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, China, East Timor, the European Union,
India, Indonesia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea,
the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

Thailand also continued to support Russia's participation in the East Asia Summit.

North Korea 'on red alert' after missile test
Bangkok Post 20 July 2006

Seoul (dpa) - North Korea issued an order of high military readiness after its missile tests two weeks ago, according to
South Korean reports Wednesday.

The alert was issued to North Korean forces on July 5 as the country fired seven missiles into the Sea of Japan, the
Yonhap news agency reported citing South Korean government sources in Seoul.

A press report stating that the North Korean leadership in Pyongyang issued a mobilization order could not be confirmed,
say a South Korean Reunification Ministry spokesman.

South Korea's Yoongang Ilbo daily reported that an order placing the North Korean army on a war footing was issued
hours before the acceptance Saturday of a resolution of the United Nations Security Council on the missile tests.

Soldiers were called to barracks and civilians were place under travel restrictions, the daily reported citing intelligence
source, adding hat the order was not broadcast via official North Korean media.

The last general mobilization by the North came in 1993 during tensions over the North Korean nuclear programme.

The UN Security Council in a resolution on Saturday in New York unanimously condemned the latest North Korean missile
tests. The Council called on all UN member states not to support the North's missile programme materially, financially, or

North Korean rejected the Council's decision.

Meanwhile, in react to Seoul's refusal to supply urgently needed rice and fertilizer, North Korea said in a telegram to the
Red Cross that it was stopping planned reunions of families separated by the border with the South.

The Reunification Ministry in Seoul on Wednesday said Pyongyang considered the North's action "an act of treachery."

After July 5 missile tests, South Korea refused to supply aid to its insular, totalitarian neighbour until North Korea rejoined
the six-nation talks on its nuclear programmes.
"It has become impossible to hold any discussion related to humanitarian issues, to say nothing of arranging any reunion
between separated families and relatives between the two sides," North Korea said in the telegram.

North Korea called off the next family reunions, planned via videolink for mid-August, as well as the construction of a
permanent meeting point for the families planned at Kumgang Mountain near the two countries' border in south-eastern
North Korea.

The reunions and meeting complex were agreed to by North and South Korea as part of their reconciliation efforts. Seoul
and Pyongyang are still technically at war because no peace treaty was signed at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War.
The two countries held their first summit, however, in June 2000, and since then, there have been 14 rounds of family

North Korea's announcement followed last week's cabinet-level talks between the two countries, which North Korea ended
early. It had asked at the meeting for the delivery of a half-million tons of rice, a request South Korea refused.

North Korea has been dependent for years on foreign aid as a result of mismanagement and natural disasters that have
ruined its crops.

Israel re-establishing the deterrent
Bangkok Post 20 July 2006

What does 'deterrent power' actually mean? Understand that, and you understand the remarkable savagery
of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon


''What they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over,'' said President George
W Bush over an unnoticed open microphone at the St Petersburg summit on Sunday. But it isn't really that simple. There
are two sides in every fight, and Israel is doing some shit, too. The Hizbollah certainly started the fight (by crossing
Israel's border and taking two soldiers hostage), but it is not clear that either Syria or Iran is the mastermind behind the
operation. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, is perfectly capable of taking this initiative on his own.

True, the rockets that have been raining down on northern Israel (2,000 so far, leaving 16 Israeli civilians dead) were
made in Iran. But then the F-16s and Apache gunships that are pounding Lebanon (130 Lebanese civilians dead so far)
were made in the United States, and that doesn't mean that Washington ordered the Israeli offensive against Lebanon.

Sheikh Nasrallah knew that the Israeli retaliation for the kidnapping would fall mainly on innocent Lebanese (because they
are much easier targets than his elusive guerrillas), but he doesn't care. He had a few surprises up his sleeve, like longer-
range rockets that could strike deep into Israel and radar-guided Silkworm anti-ship missiles to attack the Israeli warships
that used to shell the Lebanese coast with impunity. And if he manages to fight Israel to a draw, he will come out of this
the most popular Arab leader since Nasser.

General Dan Halutz, the Israeli chief-of-staff, was also spoiling for a fight. His major concern has been that Israel's
''deterrent power'' has gone into decline, and he wanted to re-establish it.

Some Israeli defence analysts, like Prof Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University, believe that the plan for the massive
strikes against Lebanon has been sitting on the shelf for several years, awaiting a provocation that would justify putting it
into effect.

But what does ''deterrent power'' actually mean?

Understand that, and you understand the remarkable savagery of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Of course, they are a
''disproportionate use of force'', as French President Jacques Chirac called them the other day. That is the whole point.
Israel's ''deterrent power'' lies in its demonstrated will to kill and destroy on a vastly greater scale than anybody attacking
it can manage. Its enemies must know that if one Israeli is killed, a dozen or even a hundred Arabs will die.

This has been the dominant concept of Israeli strategy from the very foundation of the state, and the ''kill ratio'' in all of
Israel's wars down to its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 conformed to that pattern.
The first time it didn't apply was in the struggle between Israeli troops and Hizbollah during Israel's prolonged occupation
of southern Lebanon in 1982-2000, when the Israelis were managing to kill only a few Hizbollah guerrillas for each of their
own soldiers who died.

That steady drain of lives was the main reason the Israeli army pulled out of southern Lebanon six years ago, but many
people in the Israeli defence establishment were concerned at the time that Israel's ''deterrent power'' had been gravely
eroded by Hizbollah's victory.

Subsequent clashes with the Palestinians did not see the old ratio restored: during the years of the so-called ''second
intifada'', only three Palestinians were dying for every Israeli who was killed.

Hence the perceived need within the Israeli armed forces to ''re-establish deterrence'', i.e. to demonstrate that Israel can
and may respond with massively disproportionate violence even to minor attacks. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) wasn't
actually looking for a fight, but if a fight came along it intended to use the opportunity to make a demonstration of just
how big an over-reaction it was capable of.

In the case of the Gaza Strip and the kidnapping of the first Israeli soldier by Hamas militants on June 25, the operation
went more or less according to plan, because the Palestinian militants have little to fight with: the casualty ratio there
since the Israelis responded with massive force has been over 20 dead Palestinians for every Israeli killed. But the
Hizbollah is a much more serious opponent.

After a week of mutual bombardment, Hizbollah rockets against Israeli artillery and aircraft, Hizbollah still has at least
three-quarters of its rockets left. A large part of northern Israel will remain under attack from the skies _ not very
accurate attack, but about one rocket in a hundred kills someone _ unless the Israeli army is willing to occupy all of
southern Lebanon again.

Even more worrisome for Israel is the fact that ''deterrence'' is not really being re-established. A great deal of Lebanon's
civilian infrastructure is being destroyed, but the actual kill ratio is only about six-to-one in Israel's favour.

This is not just a hiccup; it is evidence of a slow but inexorable shift in the terms of trade. Israel will remain unbeatable in
war for the foreseeable future, but the good old days of cheap and easy victories are not coming back again.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist.

EDITORIAL- Coping with zero population growth
Bangkok Post 20 July 2006

A recent Mahidol University study on birth rate trends in Thailand predicts that this country will be facing zero population
growth by 2020. Associate Professor Pattama Wawattanawong of Mahidol said that the elderly currently account for only
10% of the population, but the percentage would rise to 25% within 30 years. The study predicts that Thailand's
population will peak in 15 years' time at 65 million, after which it will go into decline. Zero population growth is a serious
problem. The United Nations says a rate of 2.1 children per woman is required just to maintain a country's population in
the developed world but few developed countries are now achieving this.

In Europe, for instance, Iceland is the most productive country with a fertility rate of 2.03 children per woman, while
Ireland with 1.99 and France with 1.90 are ranked second and third, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistics service.

The overall fertility rate for American women in 2005 was about 2.1 births per woman but America is also getting older,
too, threatening both private pensions and Social Security, the government pension programme. The US is fortunate that
it has a Hispanic ethnic group which is contributing more than any other towards the acceptable birth rate. Hispanics
accounted for 49% of the US nationwide population growth of 2.8 million between July 2004 and July 2005, according to
US Census Bureau figures. Experts say, however, that the US is unlikely to age as significantly as Europe any time soon.

In Asia, Japan is facing a crisis with its low fertility rate of just 1.25. The Japanese government announced in early June
that more than one in five Japanese is now 65 or older, and that ratio could rise to one in four in the next decade. Tokyo
has been slow in addressing the issue but has begun by keeping seniors in the job market. Upon retirement, seniors can
return to their former companies and receive a government pension in addition to a reduced salary.
The Mahidol University study shows that the time is now for our legislators to also begin to address the problem of a
greying population. Only recently Thailand's first aged care home was established but as it is a private institution, it only
caters for the wealthy.

Unfortunately for Thailand, our ageing population will be scattered across all ethnic races and income brackets and it will
ultimately become a responsibility of the government to provide care for many of the elderly, something which it has not
had to do previously. While we must plan for an ageing society, another way to address the problem is to increase the
population and Thailand has many possible options that other countries do not have.

In an effort to encourage couples to have children, many European countries as well as Australia have beefed up
government benefits for families with children. In Austria, that includes monthly payouts of 436 euros (21,300 baht) for
the youngest child until the age of three, and additional monthly cheques up to 153 euros (7,500 baht), depending on the
age of offspring. In France, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin this month introduced financial incentives for parents to
have a third child.

Thailand already has on its doorstep a few simple ways to increase its population. Hilltribe people have been waiting for
years to be granted Thai citizenship but red tape has continually stood in their way, even though many have been born in
this country and speak and write the language. On the border with Burma are refugee camps brimming with potential tax-
paying workers. In the camps the women are giving birth to babies on Thai soil with little hope of ever returning to their

And in Ban Huay Nam Khao in Phetchabun's Khao Kho district, up to 6,500 Hmong, allegedly from Laos even though
Vientiane denies this, huddle in makeshift shelters on the side of the road. Expensive schemes, like in Europe, are not
necessary, provided the government can find an equitable way to utilise the resources already existing on Thai soil.

Close watch on S. Korean businessmen
Bangkok Post 20 July 2006


Immigration police are closely watching a group of South Korean businessmen and staff of international humanitarian
agencies who may have helped smuggle North Korean refugees into the country over the past few years. Pornpat
Suyanant, deputy commissioner, said officers had been deployed in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai following reports that
businesses in the two provinces may be operating as a front to help North Koreans wanting to escape to a third country.

Police also suspected some international humanitarian organisations of involvement, as it seemed they often knew in
advance about the movements of the North Koreans and managed to be at the spots where they arrived to offer

According to official statistics, 321 North Koreans have been apprehended for illegally entering the country since 2004. Of
these, 199 were set to South Korea with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the
South Korean government.

Pol Maj-Gen Pornpat said the government should have talks with the UNHCR and the South Korean government on how to
best deal with the problem.

He was concerned that as a transit Thailand could be caught up in a conflict between North and South Korea. However,
his agency's main responsibility was to ensure illegal migrants left the country. Policy was a matter for the government.

An investigation by the agency showed that most North Koreans coming to Thailand illegally sneak out of their country
and take temporary shelter in China.

Then they travel on Chinese cargo vessels along the Mekong river to Ban Muang Mom in Ton Phung district of Bo Kaeo
province in Laos.

Then they take small boats to Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong districts in Chiang Rai province.

Pol Maj-Gen Pornpat believed a number of North Koreans were now stranded in Thailand.
A report by the National Intelligence Bureau released in February said about 700 North Koreans had taken refuge in the

Interior Ministry officials have also been sent to Chiang Rai to look into the matter.

S Korean foreign minister nominated to lead UN 17 July 2006

WASHINGTON: South Korea has formally nominated its Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to succeed Kofi Annan as UN
secretary-general, government said in a letter circulated at the United Nations.
Ban, whose nomination has been speculated for long, became the fourth official candidate for the post opening up in
January 2007, after Annan's lays down office after a five year term.
In a letter to the Security Council, South Korean UN Ambassador Choi Young-jin said ''Over a career spanning more than
37 years, Ban has provided distinguished service both to the government of the Republic of Korea and on the international
stage.'' His reform initiatives at the Foreign Ministry over the past three years would help him lead management reform
efforts at the United Nations, Choi said.
Ban, 62, has been South Korea's foreign minister since January 2004 and has also served as ambassador to the United
A career diplomat, he comes from humble beginnings and is said to be a consensus builder and shuns the limelight
preferring quiet diplomacy, analysts said.
He is equally fluent in English and also speaks French, a requirement that France, with veto power in the selection
process, insists upon for any potential UN leader.
The United States, like France another key player in the selection process has for the first time acknowledged that the
next UN Official should come from the Far East Asia.
Russia, China and Britain, also with veto power, are all permanent council members and have a say in the selection
''As I understand it, traditionally ... regions rotate, and we're really looking in the Far East right now to be the secretary-
general,'' US President George W Bush said.
Earlier, the United States had said the best possible candidate should fill the job, regardless of region.
The Security Council plays the crucial role in picking a secretary-general, nominating a suitable candidate and submitting
his name to the 192-nation UN General Assembly for final approval.
The other three candidates vying for the position are: India's official candidate Shashi Tharoor, currently the UN
undersecretary general for communications and public information, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai
and former UN under secretary-general for disarmament Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka.
But, more names are likely to be added to the list, diplomats say.
Pakistan is reportedly considering fielding Nafis Sadik - Annan's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.
Although Shashi Tharoor's name has been making the rounds since last year, New Delhi formally chose him as candidate
this month, to succeed Kofi Annan.
However, even though Tharoor had worked for more than 20 years at the United Nations, his name is yet to penetrate
into the corridors of power in Washington.
Annan's second and final five-year term in office ends on December 31. His successor, who will be chosen by the Council
around October, will take over on January 1, 2007.
The last Asian to hold the post was Myanmar's U Thant, who's tenure ended in 1971.

Burma pressed again
The Nation 20 July 2006

Asean will next week make another attempt to push Burma towards democracy and national reconciliation.

Foreign ministers of the 10 member states will gather in Kuala Lumpur for their annual meeting and they are looking for
ways to try to speed up political reform in military-run Burma.
Rangoon's seven-step "road map" towards democracy and national reconciliation is moving at a snail's pace. But Asean's
previous moves to spur the junta into action have yielded little.

The Kuala Lumpur meeting is not expected to produce any breakthrough on the deadlock, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon will propose that the group enhance the role of Asean chairman to
allow more engagement with Rangoon in an attempt to persuade the junta to democratise, said Asean Affairs Department
director Nopadol Gunavibool.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, the current chairman of the group, failed to make any progress on his visit
to Burma in March. The junta rejected his idea that they meet all stakeholders in Burmese politics, including opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Asean needs to put more effort into maintaining contact with the junta, Nopadol said, because Burma was about to shut
down channels of engagement with it.

"The international community has seen that our regional approach toward Burma does not work, so we need to prove it
can work," he told reporters.

Asean members are split over the political deadlock in Burma. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines want to
see Asean take a tougher approach toward the junta and are happy to see the issue discussed by the UN Security Council.
But newer members Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam would prefer to see a more lenient stance.

Supalak Ganjanakhundee

The Nation

BIRD FLU - Suphan Buri given 'emergency' status
The Nation 20 July 2006

Local livestock office considers province at risk of becoming centre for epidemic

Suphan Buri, one of the areas worst hit by avian-flu outbreaks, was finally declared an "emergency disaster area"

The declaration followed a recommendation by the provincial livestock office that the province should be considered as a
"suspected avian flu epidemic area", the province's governor said.

Songphol Thimasart said the livestock office had been monitoring an unusual rise in the number of farm-raised chickens
dying in different areas around the province and suspected the deaths to have been caused by bird flu.

Under this status, Songphol said, the province would be able to seek emergency funding in advance in case of future
compensation payments tofarmers to mitigate the impact of their birds dying or being culled.

This kind of compensation could only be made if the province is considered an "emergency disaster area" as a result of
being a suspected avian flu epidemic area, Songphol said.

It was reported last week that about 200 chickens in the province's Muang district had died en masse, with livestock
authorities taking some of the dead birds for testing to see whether the H5N1 virus was the cause of death.

The official test results have not yet been revealed, while reports of chick deaths possibly caused by bird flu had sprung
up at various locations in the district.

A poultry farmer, who asked to remain nameless, in Song Phi Nong district said that from his experience with bird flu he
thought that the 200 chickens had died from the virus.
"I was glad to see the province make this clear announcement [of it being an emergency disaster area] so that people
here are aware and can prepare themselves," he said.

Meanwhile, in Phichit province, two young girls, aged three and four, were added to the watch-list of suspected human
cases of bird flu yesterday after they were admitted to hospital with high fever, coughing and severe breathing difficulties.

Lab test results to determine if they have contracted the lethal virus are expected today.

The two girls, who reportedly fell ill in a community in Taphan Hin district where chickens have been dying, were being
treated in an isolation ward pending their test results.

These two new cases brought the total number of suspected human bird-flu cases in the province to seven.

The other five cases are three children aged between three and five and two adults, one 57 and the other 72.

UN concern at emergency decree abuse
The Nation 20 July 2006

The United Nations yesterday called on Thailand to repeal provisions of the controversial emergency decree
for the deep South that violate international covenants on human rights.

"The emergency decree makes it possible for soldiers and police officers to get away with murder," said Philip Alston, the
UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Under international human-rights law "the use
of lethal force is prohibited unless strictly necessary to protect life, regardless of an officer's good faith or
reasonableness", he said.

The state of emergency, which later became the Emergency Law, was declared in July 2005 and extended this week.
Under the law, soldiers and police officers may not be prosecuted or disciplined, even for otherwise illegal killings, if they
are acting reasonably.

"Impunity for violence committed by the security forces has been an ongoing problem in Thailand, but the emergency
decree has gone even further and makes impunity look like the official policy," Alston said.

Meanwhile, in Yala, two unidentified merchants were shot dead in Banang Sata district yesterday as Army chief General
Sonthi Boonyaratklin travelled to the region for talks with Muslim leaders. Witnesses reportedly heard the attackers yell
"no one can guarantee the safety of anybody cooperating with the authorities", before speeding away.

Prior to his departure for the South, Sonthi downplayed a controversial proposal from Narathiwat Governor Pracha Therat
that Islamic tutorial schools, known as Tadekas, be combined with public schools.

Pracha has accused a number of Tadekas of promoting separatist ideology and sheltering militants.

SAARC's Pro-Active Track in the International System
Globalization of political economy has made regional cooperation an inescapable option
Peace Journalism 19 July 2006

By Dev Raj Dahal , FES Nepal Office

International System

The international system of today can best be characterized by hierarchical, complex, competing and interconnected state
and non-state power centers where the superpower alone is neither willing nor capable of bearing the entire burden of
regional and global challenges. The existing hierarchy between the rich and the poor nations will not change very much in
the near future but regionalism might be able to resolve some of their problems and serve as a protection against the
pressure of the international economic and political systems. The peculiarity of the international system dynamics is that
great powers are more interested in engaging the U.S. in multiple regimes than challenging its dominant leadership. Great
powers are interested in respecting each other's vital interests while bargaining over other matters. The multi-polarity of
power has added value to the rise of multilateralism, mutual responsibilities and the necessity of evolving multi-level
governance for regulating actors' behavior. In this sense, multilateralism occupies the moral high ground where national
worldviews and interests are tempered for common good of a larger number of peoples and states.

The dramatic spread of international norms, rules, principles, processes and institutions has helped to regulate the
pluralistic, essentially anarchic structure of the sovereign state system and moderate the security dilemma. In a situation
of power disparity, states seek to increase their power and security and threaten the security of others, thus contributing
to vicious distrust and insecurity. The basic components of a regime help to foster social capital, allow states to take
advantage of economies of scale, lower transaction costs and attain objectives, which would otherwise be unattainable by
singular efforts. The diffusion of regimes has also transformed the very concept of leadership based exclusively on the
realist conception of hard power of discipline and coercion and increased the utility of soft power such as shared ideas,
values, communication, civilization and peace.

The post-September 9/11, 2001 demonstrated that some of the sources of security threats are global in nature, such as
inter-state conflict, terrorism, outbreak of contagious diseases, ecocide, human rights violations, organized crime, drug
and weapon proliferation, etc. Other sources of conflicts are defined more by the fault-lines within societies but they are
also enmeshed in historical and geopolitical contests for physical domination. For example, growing incongruity between
the national state and global society, between national sovereignty and human rights and between economic
internationalization and indigenization of social and political system has weakened the coherence of governance in rule
making, monitoring of compliance, rule-enforcement, management of public goods and conflict resolution.

The escalation of competitive violence in the international politics is the outgrowth of the erosion of the monopoly of
power of the state. Now the states no longer maintain control over the commanding height of political economy. This
means many sources of insecurity will persist so long as the collapse of state hierarchies is steered by information
revolution. As a result, fault-line conflicts will continue to prevent the attainment of system stability as aspiring powers,
such as Japan, Germany, India and Brazil-- will continue their claim for a legitimate space in the international system
while weak powers of the South will continue to seek a refuge in global justice through an access in technology, market,
finance, resource and communication that drive world politics and set the dynamics of global transformation.

Approaches to Security and Peace

The questions of national security, development and peace defined by the spirit of industrial age now attends the dawn of
post-industrial, post-state and post-modern aspirations. This age has obviously combined the dualism of the system and
the life-world, power and justice, politics and policy and organizations and aspirations. Actors cannot achieve their
collective interests unless they can overcome the barriers to collective action and pool their sovereignties for the creation
of a regime. There are four dominant approaches to peace and security.

State-Centric Order : State sovereignty defined by the peace treaty of Westphalia is the central organizing element of the
international legal and political system. Since the essence of international politics largely remains untransformed, security
essentially means liberation of citizens from the Hobbesian state of nature through the sovereignty of state in internal and
external relations and the maintenance of a regional and global balance of power. When the part (state) becomes
sovereign the whole, that is, architecture of international system lacks a unified sovereign authority for global
governance. Anarchy, however, does not mean that there is deficiency of shared interest in cooperation for the welfare of
peoples. Calculation of expected benefits shapes the cooperative behavior of actors, mutual policy adjustment and
coordination in various issue areas. But now, the powers of state are challenged on all fronts by the global market forces
through tax cuts, privatization, devolution and fragmentation of authority posing problems for the state to maintain
legitimate public order within the territorial, political, economic and social boundaries and effect socially legitimate
collective action.

Inter-National to Global Relations : Negotiated interdependence between the state and society has become important at a
time when international relation is marking a shift towards global relations and widening global communication, networks
and movements. The space beyond the state has become the domain of regional and global institutions. Due to complex
interdependence even the state system is oriented towards Grotian vision of shared interests, growth of international law
and institutions, norm-governed cooperation and peace. States can bargain better if they can coordinate their strategies
through a coalition or regime. There are proposals for the integration of WTO, the World Bank, International Monetary
Fund and even the formation of Economic Security Council in the UN.

The UN and international community have now rightly undertaken a number of vital tasks—preventing diplomacy and
peace-building in the areas of security; nation-building, supporting multi-track initiatives of the government, business and
civil society groups to harness the synergy for horizontal cooperation and seeking a balance between societal,
intergovernmental and supra-national efforts in the areas of development cooperation; nuclear safeguarding by the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); the Kyoto Protocol in the management of global environment; and Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) in the areas of human development. These steps are important for the survival of
international system as a whole and functional efficiency of its constituent units. To be sure, a negotiated peace rests on
collective security of all the constituent units of a regime and proportional sharing of burdens and benefits among its

The Centrality of Civil Society in Global Space : In consistent with the hopes of federalists and integrationists, functional
activities of humanitarian, social and ecological organizations, such as International Red Cross, Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (CPPAC), etc are pulling sovereign states, global markets and civil
society groups into a solidaristic vision of post-state constellation and enlarging the notion of citizenship in all matters and
all levels affecting their life, liberty, property and identity. Civil society groups are seeking to make peaceful approaches to
conflict resolution more attractive than other means and moving towards building international community from various
societies. They have begun to subsume the very concept of collective action at various levels of security analysis—
individual, sub-national, state, regional and global and orienting them towards achieving a modicum of world order. Macro
and micro levels of security impact each other and modify each other's behavior so closely that conditions of peace and
security can be treated in an integrative manner.

Global Social Contract and Perpetual Peace : Immanuel Kant has articulated the enlightened vision of perpetual peace. In
this peace, systemic anarchy and animosities between and among states and peoples are democratically resolved and the
great human evils, such as anarchy, fear, terror, war, denial and oppression could be conquered by seeking to make rule-
based global governance and global social contract achievable by conditioning a common pattern of policy and behavior of
states and non-state actors. To him, perpetual peace can be achieved when cooperation is based on contract than status
and governed by the rise of democratic constitutions, cosmopolitan laws and interdependence. Neither de-linking nor
autarky not even mercantilism is a viable option in the context of interdependence among states and peoples. In this
context, the ultimate resolution of conflict does not come from the fear but in quest for common good for human beings.

Globalization of political economy has made regional cooperation an inescapable option. Individual countries of the region
are, therefore, struggling to integrate themselves in a unified, single global market and reap competitive benefits. This
has induced the South Asian states and non-state actors to become competitive and extrovert in orientation. In order to
reshape globalization and make it more democratic there is a need to moderate its pace to give peoples more time to
cope and enlarge the size of winners. But, bringing social justice to global markets requires stable international regimes
and regional model of development that respects freedom, human life, dignity and ameliorates the conditions of the
marginalized. This means the structure of economic cooperation in SAARC has a number of responsibilities: overcome
democratic deficit which is occurring owing to the erosion of the state's public policy making authority, foster human
security for its peoples, promote freedom of action for states in multi-lateral fora and contribute to a rule-based, equitable
regional order.

But, the critical questions are: Does the inclusion of new member in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(SAARC) make the region cohesive, stable and effective or further polarize it from within? How can cooperation become
meaningful when outward orientation is not matched by internal economic integration, policy harmony on a number of
meta-issues and expansion in the activities of institutional routines of the SAARC secretariat? How long do the core
powers of South Asia, India and Pakistan, require in establishing confidence and move forward on collaboration on
substantive issues and complex challenges that plague SAARC?.

The Spreading Regime Wings

The structure of international system shapes the behavior of sub-systemic bilateral, sub-regional and regional
cooperation. Cooperative scheme of long-term rationality rests on a political strategy of confidence building, mutual
recognition and shared view of common good. These incentives provide the states reasons for joining regime. The
European Security Strategy rests on a coherence of its policies such as burden sharing in the transatlantic alliance,
willingness to assert abroad, internal cohesion and the ability and willingness to cope with the security problems occurring
at its borders. Europe has turned into a "social state" and maintained a reasonable balance between market competition
and promotion of social justice through the social charter. In the context of changing nature of development cooperation,
the EU has made commitment to MDGs and the other documents—Monterrey Conference on Finance and Development,
Paris Declaration on Harmonization and Alignment and aims at reaching the target of 0.7 percent of GDP allocation to
development assistance.

The multi-lateral cooperation in Asia , such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
and ASEAN Plus Three ( China , Japan and South Korea ) has been driven by ASEAN's imperative for economic dynamism,
regional security, peace and stability. In these regimes, confidence building has become an overriding objective of
Summits, upon which solution-oriented approaches to regional challenges are applied through various tiers of functional
cooperation. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMST-EC) promises
new institutional expression of a regime, which seeks the wellbeing of regional peoples through shared development
initiatives and provides links of South Asia to Southeast Asia . The Asian Highway Project of ESCAP aims integrated
cooperation in the areas of infrastructure connectivity, energy, communication, investment in human capital and
structural transformation of the region's economy while the plan for Asian energy grid linking SAARC with China and Gulf
Cooperation Council will likely to add synergy for cooperation. An embedded cooperation minimizes the possibility of
deadly conflict.

The renewal of South Asian consciousness and identity is inspiring the regional leaders to converge their expectations in
the areas of cooperation and shape their common future. Rational leaders are sources of regime-building and economic
integration. But, the institutional learning of SAARC from these regimes is cautious one. As a consequence, strong
bilateralism has yet to keep pace with expanding horizon of multilateral cooperation. The greatest challenges in South
Asia spring from the struggles for space, power, resource and identity, centrifugal movements of sub-national groups and
other problems of transnational nature. Poverty, disease, rights violations, refugees, state fragility, terrorism, weapon
proliferation, hunt for energy, etc. are embedded in the structural conditions of soft-state of the regime. The solution of
these problems requires a coordinated, multi-national response.

The regional LDCs require a structure of incentives that brings forth the productive partnership, integration of city-
centered economies with rural regions and absorption of their huge surplus workforce. They need a higher level of trade
to overcome the insufficiencies of domestic markets, foreign assistance and direct investment to complement poor
internal resources base and a safeguard against the vulnerability of their economies to external developments, such as
inflation, ecological decline, debt crisis, market fluctuation, etc. Greater cooperation among the regional states, market
institutions and civil societies can easily foreclose geopolitical rivalries, contribute to reducing security risks arising out of
power disequilibrium and enable collective action to achieve the basic objectives of SAARC social charter so that systemic
orientation of upward economic integration can balance downward social integration of the life-world.

What gives the South Asian leadership an extraordinary confidence is their faith in the tolerance of peoples, culture of
argumentation, formation of a lively public sphere generated by cross-border sub-systemic movements of regional
peoples and multi-track peace initiatives generated by the cross-border networks, associations and fora of civil society
bodies representing judges, legislators, lawyers, journalists, business persons, teachers, artists, youths, women, etc and
fostering a common SAARC identity. These civil society groups have already created a South Asian public space, which
coincides with the cosmopolitan community in quest of humane governance. What is still important is how the demands
generated by South Asian civil society groups can be absorbed by the institutional mechanism of SAARC, vision matches
with capabilities and social organizations unleash production revolution.

Expanding the Framework of Multilateralism

In the Declaration of 12th SAARC summit regional leaders agreed to "establish dialogue partnership with other regional
bodies and with states outside the region, interested in SAARC activities." Inclusion of Afghanistan as the eighth member
in SAARC has not only ensured the integrity of South Asian strategic geography but also established a connection with the
Middle East and Central Asia . Millions of regional workers in the Middle East have cemented this link. SAARC needs to
make major investment in human resource development and formulate a regional strategy to develop skilled workforce to
match with knowledge-based society. To leverage the opportunities provided by the current economic dynamism of Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC), due to capital and resource (oil and natural gas) surplus and expanding labor market
opportunities, South Asian policy communities have shown interest in expanding the base of remittance economy, trade,
foreign direct investment and market opportunities.

Addition of China and Japan as observers of SAARC is enlarging its vision and opening itself to the outside world. Open
regionalism has disadvantages if internal coherence and symmetry of information are not properly attuned, opportunities
for mutual interests remain vaguely defined and policy coordination suffers due to structural and institutional deficiencies.
The SAARC responded positively to the request of the United States and South Korea seeking observer status. For EU,
South Asia 's importance is fundamental. The EU is, therefore, following a pro-active policy of engagement with the region
and consistently affirmed its interest in strengthening links with SAARC.

China , Japan and South Korea by the logics of geo-economics of proximity are attracted towards the economic potential
of this region. Economic cooperation strongly anchored within the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and WTO is
expected to produce spillovers into other sectors and generate contextual confidence in harnessing mutual investment,
economic union and ultimately the formation of a South Asian economic community. But, there is a need to create a level
playing field so that even small countries can also reap reasonable benefits. Expansion of member and engagements of
regional and global powerhouses in the region mean raising the profile of South Asian regionalism, expanding the scope
for multilateralism, enlarging the areas of functional cooperation and building a foundation for security.

Comprehensive security devoid of collective economic cooperation is simply unsustainable. This is the reason the South
Asian countries are developing a flexible multilateral partnership and trying to secure their freedom of maneuver through
mutual accommodation and multiple regime membership. China 's recent observer status in SAARC and India and
Pakistan 's at the five-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) illustrates this point. On the one hand India is
developing a strategic and cooperative partnership, instituting a political mechanism to resolve the boundary issue and
expanding trade on the other hand it has signed a deal on civilian nuclear energy with the US . Pakistan and Afghanistan
are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Other smaller countries of the region are not far behind in
seeking leverage for national self-assertion and mutual accommodation with the neighbors and global powers. Utilization
of soft power, however, is central to foster the moderation of state behavior and minimize the conflict through the
principles of subsidiarity.


The negative orientation of power politics in the region is the main reason for the repudiation of politics by SAARC in the
formal processes and a search for the harmony of interests through core economic, social, ecological and technological
issues. What proved wrong so far is the hope that the domination of politics by the economic and technological condition
of modernity can alone bring perpetual peace and address a host of complex strategic and non-traditional security
challenges. The abolition of conflict through a balance of power or nuclear deterrence has simply remained flawed because
it did not address the root causes and build sufficient level of trust for conflict resolution. Making regional peoples and
states common stakeholders requires the sharing of benefits of cooperation and strengthening the web of comprehensive
security at inter-societal and inter-state levels.

The rationale for regional cooperation in South Asia has been reinforced by the rapid global changes taking place at
strategic levels and by trends in the information technology, economy and the modernization processes unleashed by
globalization. Securing an effective management of regional cooperation requires the collective strength, backed by unity
of purpose and action in the region and international fora, commitment in the pursuit of SAARC goals and flexibility and
adaptation in the changing dynamics of regional and international politics.

South Asian countries can overcome trade, finance and technological handicaps and can even gain bargaining power
through mutual cooperation if they pro-actively harness the centripetal tendency of regional public. An embedded
cooperation requires not just the palliative measures, which do not go to the root of the regional problems but a deep
structural transformation of political economy. Successful progress in the region cannot be imported. It is vitally linked to
the resiliency of the member states, markets and civil society groups, all acting in a common spirit to optimize the
prospect for shared cooperation, peace, progress and identity of South Asia .

Amend decree, urges UN official
Thai Day 20 July 2006

By Ismail Wolff
The recently extended Emergency Decree being applied in the southernmost border provinces violates international
human rights law and should be amended immediately, a United Nations human rights experts said this week.

In a statement dated July 18, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
of the UN Human Rights Council, called on the government to repeal sections of the emergency decree that protect
soldiers and police from prosecution.

―The emergency decree makes it possible for soldiers and police officers [to] get away with murder,‖ said Alston.
―Accountability requires the Government to act on its stated commitment to human rights.

―The Government should repeal all emergency regulations that violate human rights law and begin moving to bring human
rights abusers to justice.‖

The state of emergency was declared in July 2005 and has since been renewed every 90 days. It was extended for the
fourth time on Tuesday.

The decree gives security forces immunity from prosecution, and empowers them to detain suspects for 30 days without
charge, conduct searches and make arrests without a warrant and to tap phones.

Alston said the government had failed to act on previous calls to bring its emergency regulations into compliance with
human rights law, and stressed again that the time had come for it to live up to its human rights commitments.

Thailand has been a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1996, which Alston
stressed was a ―legally binding commitment to only adopt measures that are consistent with its provisions.‖

The now defunct UN Human Rights Commission noted in July 2005 that the decree was inconsistent with international
human rights laws. And again in November 2005 Alston says he raised the issue in a letter to the government but
received no response.

―Impunity for violence committed by the security forces has been an ongoing problem in Thailand, but the emergency
decree has gone even further and makes impunity look like the official policy,‖ said Alston.

―As Thailand moves to October elections it is time to abandon impunity and make justice the new norm.‖

However, the government has nevertheless continued to persist with the decree which it claims is ―vital‖ to its
counterinsurgency efforts in the Muslim-majority southern border provinces.

Region Four Army Commander Lt-Gen Ongkorn Thongprasom yesterday said the emergency powers should remain until
the bombings and shootings are stopped.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit admitted this week that the authorities are no closer to reining in
militants behind near daily bombings and shootings despite the widespread use of emergency powers to arrest and detain
suspects without warrant or charge.

More than 1,300 people have been killed since violence erupted across the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat in
July 2004.

Thailand failed to secure a seat in the new United Nations Human Rights Council in May after rights advocates urged the
General Assembly not to elect countries with questionable human rights records.

Thailand’s human rights record under the administration of Thaksin Shinawatra has regularly been questioned by the UN
and non-governmental agencies during the past five years.

Human rights observers have been particularly concerned by the 2003 war on drugs – in which nearly 3,000 people were
killed in a three month crackdown – as well as widespread accusations of human rights abuses in the southern border
provinces, where security forces have been fighting a low-level insurgency for more than two-and-a-half years.


Asean Mulls Appointing Permanent Rep At Jakarta Secretariat
Bernama 19 July 2006

By D. Arul Rajoo

BANGKOK, July 19 (Bernama) -- With over 400 meetings annually and budget constraints of smaller member states,
Asean is contemplating appointing a permanent secretary or representative of each member country to the Asean
Secretariat in Jakarta.

Nopadol Gunavibool, director-general of the Asean Affairs Department in the Thailand Foreign Ministry, said the
appointments would be similar to that of permanent representative to the United Nations, UN agencies, European
Commission and the Bangkok-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

"This is in line with the proposed Asean Charter to turn Asean into a political entity but we cannot wait until this takes
place. We need to start immediately to boost our efficiency," he said when briefing the media on the 39th Asean
Ministerial Meeting, Post Ministerial Conference and 13th Asean Regional Forum from July 24 to 28 in Kuala Lumpur.

Nopadol said the framework already existed through the Jakarta Contact Group but the officials were from the junior
level, adding that it could be expanded to include ambassadors or deputy chiefs of mission.

"We feel the ambassadors will not be available for most of the meetings as Indonesia is a big country and they need to
travel a lot. The number two or three at each mission could attend, similar to Unescap here where the deputy normally
attends the meetings," he said.

Leaders of smaller members like Cambodia and Laos had complained that attending numerous meetings hosted by Asean
had become a financial burden to them.

Nopadol said due to Asean's increasing role, such meetings could not be simply reduced, but with more meetings
centralised in Jakarta, it could reduce travelling and the cost of attending such meetings besides enhancing the 10-
member grouping's efficiency.
He said permanent representatives could attend the meetings in Jakarta, participate in deliberations and receive orders
from their respective capitals while the final decision would be taken at the ministerial meetings.

At the Kuala Lumpur meeting, Nopadol said Thailand Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon would propose to member
countries to engage the private sector in Asean economic projects currently estimated at more than 100.

He said some of the projects were not moving due to the lack of funds while some were receiving financial support from
Asean dialogue partners.

"Another way is to engage the private sector. Thailand has volunteered to undertake a study on this and if Asean agrees,
we can proceed."

Nopadol also believed that the issue of democracy and human rights in Myanmar would be a hot topic at the meetings as
it was important for Asean to take a united stand as the grouping seemed to be divided.

"Some Asean countries are going separate ways. Older members like Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore
are reluctant to object to the proposal to refer Myanmar to the UN Security Council.

"Thailand and some new members are caught in the middle...we have a common border with them and need to be close,"
he said.

Such a situation is weakening Asean and its credibility, especially when it wants to discuss regional issues while
international pressure is mounting on Myanmar and the grouping.

"Some people are saying we are not doing anything. We need to continue with our approach to persuade Myanmar
through engagement. We hope to have more visits by Asean representatives as a follow-up to Datuk Seri Syed Hamid
Albar's (Malaysian Foreign Minister) trip in March," Nopadol said.

Asked if Asean would engage China and India to talk to Myanmar, he said both countries had told them they preferred
Asean to take the lead and that they would support such a initiative.


Guideline for banks suggested to handle ACU transactions
The Daily Star 20 July 2006

Star Business Report

Experts from Asian Clearing Union (ACU) members have recommended formulation of a guideline for commercial banks to
handle ACU transactions in accordance with the union's mechanism.

The recommendation was made at a two-day technical committee meeting of ACU members that ended in Dhaka

The technical committee in a set of recommendations also said the guideline should outline measures to act promptly to
any queries by the counter parties in ACU countries and issue ACU dollar account statements as and when a transaction
occurs and on a monthly basis.

The committee said member central banks may also ask the commercial banks to pay minimum rate of interest at 2 per
cent per annum on the balances ACU dollar accounts.

It also said member central banks may consider establishing a foreign currency clearing system within their territory,
enabling the banks to settle their mutual claims arising from inter-bank transaction. This foreign currency clearing
mechanism will also enable intra-day final transfer capabilities to settle obligations related to cross-border transactions
such as ACU.

It recommended the unilateral change in LC terms and conditions should be avoided as far as possible if such actions
affect ACU payment mechanism.

Regarding the use of euro as a freely usable currency, the committee said it can be worked out in future when most of the
members would prefer to use more than one currency in the ACU transaction.
The committee said the current chairman of ACU, the Nepal Rastra Bank, in consultation with the ACU secretariat, may
identify potential new members in the ACU family.

It said the ACU secretariat may write to the ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) to explore
the possibility of extending membership beyond the ESCAP region and follow up the issue during ESCAP meetings in

Member countries may explore the possibility of doing away with the procedural requirements related with foreign
exchange transaction at their end considering the underlying commercial urgency, the committee added.

The committee was also in favour of strictly following the standard international best practices and ICC rules.


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