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Singapore Official Expects Burma to Forego ASEAN Chairmanship


A top Singapore official says Southeast Asia leaders believe they have worked out a deal with the military rulers of Burma over the chairmanship of the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations.

Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo writes in today's Financial Times that ASEAN leaders have agreed to not take away the chairmanship from any country and that Burma has assured the group that it will take ASEAN's interests into account.

Mr. Yeo says ASEAN takes this to mean that Burma will probably step aside.

Indonesia's foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda also says he believes Burma will forgo its turn to lead the group.

The United States and European Union have threatened to boycott ASEAN meetings if Burma assumes the rotating chairmanship next year without making progress on human rights, including freeing pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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