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Top European Union officials will meet with Burma's military rulers on the sidelines of a Europe-Asia meeting in Japan this week, the first such talks at a ministerial level.

EU officials say they plan to raise various political and human rights concerns during Friday's meeting, including the continued house detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

EU foreign ministers recently renewed sanctions against Burma for another year. The sanctions restrict travel by members of the ruling military junta, and bans EU investment in the country.

Friday's meeting comes amid growing international pressure for Rangoon to step aside from the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's rotating leadership because of the country's human rights record. Burma is scheduled to assume the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006.

Washington and the EU have threatened to boycott further ASEAN meetings if Burma takes the chair before enacting political reforms.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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