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ASEAN Criticized for Allowing Burma to Host Summit


Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke says ASEAN risks alienating some of its members if it lets Burma host next year's summit.

Mr. Holbrooke told business leaders in Bangkok Monday that if ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) goes through with plans to let Burma play host, he will recommend to the United States not to attend. He added that ASEAN should not have invited Burma to join the organization in 1997 without getting Rangoon to agree to reforms.

The Clinton-era diplomat acknowledged he does not speak for the White House. However he remains an influential figure in U.S. foreign affairs.

Burma's military government has been under pressure from Western nations to improve its human rights record and make democratic reforms. The U.S. State Department says Burma punishes political dissent and carries out extrajudicial killings.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and AP.

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