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EU, ASEAN Ministers Back More Talks in Burma - 2003-01-29


European and Asian foreign ministers say Burma's national reconciliation process is in a "fragile state" and all sides must keep talking.

The ministers issued a statement Tuesday after two days of talks in Brussels between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The statement says the ministers had a frank discussion on Burma and noted cooperation there between the military government and UN and Red Cross officials.

But the EU wants complete freedom of movement for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The statement says all sides in Burma must be involved in bringing back democracy and human rights.

Burma's Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win attended his first ever ASEAN ministerial meeting. The European Union temporarily lifted a travel ban on Burmese officials so he could travel to Brussels. The sanctions were imposed against Burma's military government because of its human rights record.

The European and Asian foreign ministers also addressed trade and political issues. They promised to boost cooperation among their various police and intelligence agencies, noting the importance of sharing sensitive information related to terrorism.

ASEAN brings together Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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