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Commissioner: EU Ready to Speak to Burma - 2004-06-30


EU Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten says the regional body is ready to discuss improving relations with Burma.

In an opinion piece in Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, Mr. Patten said EU countries want to see democracy in Burma. But he said the body is also ready to negotiate deeper bilateral relations with any state that wishes them.

A bitter dispute over Burma has threatened to cancel a planned October summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Vietnam. Two ASEM ministerial meetings have already been called off.

The European Union has called on Burma's military government to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and enact democratic reforms before it can be considered for ASEM participation.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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