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ASEAN: Burma Must Announce If It Will Assume ASEAN Chairmanship


The head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations says Burma must announce at this month's ASEAN meeting in Laos whether it will assume the chairmanship of the group next year, as scheduled.

ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong told VOA Burmese Service ASEAN leaders have to decide what country will become the next chairman after Malaysia.

The Philippines would take over as ASEAN chair, if Burma gives up its turn.

Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines have demanded that Burma give up its bid to lead ASEAN unless it releases Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, improves human rights conditions and introduces democratic reforms.

The United States and the European Union have threatened to boycott ASEAN meetings and stall the bloc's development funding if Burma's military junta assumes the chair in 2006.

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