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Southeast Asian leaders have canceled a planned briefing by United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who was to address a regional summit this week about the situation in Burma.

Host Singapore had invited Gambari to brief the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. But officials say the talk was called off due to strong Burmese objections.

Gambari has made two trips to Burma since the military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters there in September.

ASEAN leaders are expected Tuesday to sign a new charter committing the group to promoting democratic ideals and human rights.

The charter needs to be approved by the parliaments of member nations. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo warned today (Monday) that her country's lawmakers probably will not ratify the charter unless Burma restores democracy and frees opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

ASEAN officials also agreed to create an agency to monitor human rights in the region. The proposal was accepted by Burma, but only after drafters dropped references to punishing violators.

ASEAN members are Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

This information has been provided by AFP and AP.
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