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Thailand Says Burma Could Decline ASEAN Chairmanship


Thailand's foreign minister says Burma could decide to skip its scheduled turn as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Kantathi Souphamongkong met Wednesday in Bangkok with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick. The two discussed Burma's assumption of ASEAN's rotating chairmanship in 2006, a move Washington and the European Union oppose because of Burma's slow progress at democratic reform.

At a joint press conference, Mr. Kantathi said Burma is considering declining the chairmanship to ease the tension. Mr. Zoellick said the United States is limited in what it can do to pressure Burma for democratic reforms.

He said now it is a question of whether other nations can press the regime to change its ways and release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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