ASEAN to discuss political standoff in Myanmar

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Bangkok, Sep 26 (UNI) Foreign ministers of the South-East Asian nations' forum including Myanmar will meet to discuss the political situation in that country where mass street protests led by monks this week have raised fears of a military crackdown.

''The meeting would take place in New York where my counterparts from the other nine ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries are also attending the UN General Assembly session'', Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram said.

''We would discuss this matter within the ASEAN and we all want to see peace,'' Mr Nitya told Thai reporters accompanying him.

Myanmar is also on the agenda of the talks scheduled between the ASEAN foreign ministers and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which will take place tomorrow.

Since Myanmar's admission to the Southeast Asian forum in 1997, ASEAN has faced international calls to push for national reconciliation and restoration of democracy in Myanmar.

Rights groups, media commentators and some Western governments have criticized ASEAN for turning a blind eye to the political upheavel in Myanmar.

ASEAN is a grouping of ten countries from South East Asia consisting of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

UNI

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