An influential U.S. senator says he believes western nations should boycott all meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations if that body allows Burma to become its chair next year.
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is one of Congress's top voices on international affairs, issued a statement today (Wednesday). He said Burma's "abhorrent democracy and human rights record" would damage the reputation of the 10-member ASEAN group if Rangoon becomes chair next year.
The Republican senator called on the European Union to make clear that it would be completely unacceptable for Rangoon to hold the post. Mr. McConnell also said he is disturbed that U.S. ally Thailand continues to support Burma's ruling military junta.
Officials in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have indicated they oppose Rangoon's bid to become chair unless it improves human rights and enacts democratic reforms.
Information for this report is provided by AP.