Indonesia says ASEAN charter rules benefit all

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SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (Reuters) The landmark charter ASEAN leaders are signing today enshrines clear rules and objectives on integrating the region and promoting democracy -- including for troublesome member Myanmar, Indonesia's President said.

''The new charter will be of benefit to all members. It is a historic moment because the new charter will address ongoing challenges and opportunities,'' President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told Reuters on the sidelines of an ASEAN summit.

''It will be a rules-based organisation with clear rules and objectives,'' Yudhoyono said before joining fellow leaders for the signing ceremony. On the issue of Myanmar, which has overshadowed the group's charter after the junta brutally suppressed pro-democracy protests, Yudhoyono said: ''The chairman has issued a statement and we now have a clear timetable.'' ASEAN yesterday called on Myanmar to move towards democracy and release political detainees, after Yangon drew criticism and sanctions from the United States and Europe.

The Philippines said on Monday its Congress might not ratify the charter if Myanmar did not moved towards democracy.

REUTERS ARB RAI1227

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