Monday, May 12, 2008

ASEAN will not be meeting on Burma crisis until next week

This group of foreign ministers appears in no hurry to save lives.
Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries could meet in Singapore soon to discuss measures to boost relief and recovery efforts in cyclone-hit Myanmar, the Straits Times reported on Monday.
The meeting is scheduled for next Monday -- well over two weeks after the cyclone hit Burma. Many of the most needy -- hundreds of thousands lacking food, water, or medicine -- will be dead by the time ASEAN ministers hold their meeting.

Perhaps that is the whole point. This way the focus of the meeting can be how to profit from reconstruction after the disaster.

What's needed instead:
ASEAN should be demanding that the UN Security Council pass a resolution invoking the "right to protect" so international aid can reach the victims. That's what this emergency calls for. There is little ASEAN can do on its own besides pressure the junta, and next week is rather too late for that.

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