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EU, Burma Hold Talks at ASEAN Meeting


The European Union says it has engaged in direct talks with a Burmese official, after avoiding such dialogue in recent years.

E.U. External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said E.U. officials spoke with a Burmese Vice Foreign Minister Thursday at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in Jakarta.

She said the direct talks represented a subtle shift in tactics from the past. She said the E.U. has not held direct talks with Burma in "a very long time."

Ms. Ferrero-Waldner said E.U. officials engaged in what she called a "critical dialogue" with the Burmese official.

During the talks, E.U. officials continued to push for democratic reforms in Burma and the release of political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since 2003.



Information for this AP and Reuters.

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