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Question Of Burma's Asean Membership - 2003-08-16


Burma might have to be expelled from ASEAN grouping if its military regime continues ignoring world pressure to release democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, warned Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir in an interview last month.

Burma was admitted to the regional organization in 1997 with strong support of Malaysia.

Not only must the democracy leader be released but democracy must also be restored in the country if Burma is to remain in ASEAN, said Dr. Aye Kyaw, a historian at New York University.

Burma, in the first place should not have been admitted as a member because the regime does not legally represents the people, said Dr. Zani, co-founder of Free Burma Coalition.

Debbie Stodhard of Alt-ASEAN, an Asian human rights watch group said "At this stage I do not expect ASEAN to expel Burma in the next 12 months, I think it's too early to tell, but it's definitely the first step forward that key leaders in ASEAN are threatening to expel Burma if it does not deliver the reforms."

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