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EU Weighs Whether To Accept Burma In Europe-Asia forum - 2004-03-23


European Union nations are seeking to resolve an internal dispute over whether Burma should be allowed to join the Asia-Europe partnership.

EU foreign ministers discussed the issue at their meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Britain and some other European nations object to allowing Burma to take part in the talks because of its political and human rights record.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is quoted (by AP) as saying Burma must make "credible progress" in democratic reforms to be included in the talks.

The dispute over Burma's participation is expected to be resolved by the end of April.

The Asia-Europe partnership is a forum for talks between the 15 EU member states and Asia nations. The Asian nations want Burma, Laos, and Cambodia to join the forum when the EU brings its 10 new members into the bloc on May First.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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