P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: The Association of South East Asian Nations has called for an “independent verification” of the Myanmar junta’s roadmap for democracy.

The move, not yet translated into a plan of action, follows the decision of Myanmar’s military rulers to exclude Aung San Suu Kyi, long-incarcerated Nobel Peace Laureate and a celebrated democracy campaigner, from the promised election in 2010.

Myanmar is a member of the 10-nation ASEAN; and the group’s latest initiative is based on a broad consensus among the Foreign Ministers of the other nine countries.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, who chaired the group’s brain-storming discussions at the “retreat” that ended here on Wednesday, said the “processes” of the proposed referendum on a Constitution in Myanmar in May and the follow-up general election there in 2010 should be both “credible” and “independently verifiable.”