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Former UN Head Urges ASEAN to Press Burma on Rights


The former secretary-general of the United Nations says Southeast Asian countries should press Burma's government to improve its record on human rights.

Speaking today in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, Kofi Annan said the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should not use their policy of mutual non-interference as an excuse to avoid responsibility and to not get involved.

Burma joined ASEAN in 1997. Since then, the regional bloc has been embarrassed by Burma's refusal to introduce democratic reforms, or release from detention Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Earlier this month, Malaysia's foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar said he hoped that an upcoming final session of a Burmese convention to draft its constitution would lead to free elections in the country.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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