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Malaysian Official: ASEAN Will Never Suspend Burma From Bloc


Malaysia says the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will never suspend Burma from the 10-nation bloc, despite the military government's crackdown on demonstrators.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar says dialogue with Burma should continue but not under threats.

He says the best way to resolve the situation is through the United Nations.

Syed Hamid spoke after meeting Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is on a regional tour trying to gather support for political reconciliation in Burma.

Gambari is expected to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Wednesday.

Also today Japan canceled nearly five-million dollars in aid to Burma because of the government's crackdown that resulted in the shooting death of a Japanese journalist.

Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday the move reflected the present situation in Burma and last week's UN Security Council statement criticizing the crackdown.

Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was killed September 27th while filming the crackdown on protesters in Rangoon.

On Monday, the European Union imposed an import embargo on timber, gems and precious metals from Burma in response to the crackdown.

Burmese authorities opened fire on thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Rangoon last month. Since then, authorities have arrested thousands of monks and activists, and many are believed to have been killed.

Information for this story is provided by AP and AFP.

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