ASEAN leaders' meeting with civil society orgs cancelled

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2014 03:59 PM | Updated as of May 11 2014 11:59 PM

A police officer walks past the front of the Myanmar International Convention Center during the 24th ASEAN Summit in Naypitaw. Photo by Soe Zeya Tun, Reuters

MYANMAR -- The meeting of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with representatives of civil society organizations has been cancelled, following the rejection of some countries' representatives to the meeting.

In a statement, Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the cancellation of the "interface meeting" between the leaders and the civil society groups.

"The arrangements undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in accordance with the ASEAN practice and as such, the representatives of civil society organizations attending the interface meeting must be chosen by their respective ASEAN member countries. The ASEAN Civil Society conference/ASEAN People's Forum 2014, realizing the precedence and practice of ASEAN, rejected the representatives chosen by some ASEAN member states. In this regard, it subsequently informed the ministry of its decision not to attend the interface meeting," the statement read.

During the 11th ASEAN Leaders' Summit in December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the ASEAN recognized the first civil society conference, underscoring the important role that civil society plays in developing a people-centered ASEAN.

These groups that have a formal link with ASEAN are non-profit organizations that promote, strengthen, and help realize the aims and objectives of ASEAN cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, and culture, among others.