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REUTER: Asean Doesn't Mind for Burm

Subject: REUTER: Asean Doesn't Mind for Burmese People


    MANILA, May 31 (Reuter) - The Burmese military junta's recent crackdown
against pro-democracy campaigners will not affect its entry into the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Philippine and Malaysian
officials said on Friday.
     "It will not be a setback to the possible entry of Myanmar (Burma)
into ASEAN," Malaysian Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi said.
     The position of the Philippines, which is also an ASEAN member, on
Burma's entry into the group is the same, Philippine Foreign Secretary
Domingo Siazon said.
     Addressing a joint news conference after a meeting of the
Philippine-Malaysia joint commission meeting on bilateral cooperation, the
officials said recent events in Burma were its internal affairs.
     "It is the internal politics of Myanmar and it is for their people to
solve. We think it is not in the interest of the region to isolate them, it
is better to constructively engage them (in talks)," Badawi said.
     ASEAN leaders have said they hoped Burma would join ASEAN by the end
of the decade. Besides Malaysia and the Philippines, ASEAN groups
Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei.
     Last week Burma's military government detained about 261 pro-democracy
politicians and activists ahead of a three-day congress of the National
League for Democracy (NLD) which ended on Tuesday.
     An NLD official said on Friday that dozens of the activists had since
been freed.