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 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 05:48 GMT
EU-Asean to boost anti-terror ties
Bali bomb scene
The Bali bomb led to a review of the EU-Asean relationship

Foreign ministers from the European Union and Asean, the Association of South East Asian Nations, have agreed that there should be better sharing of intelligence in the war against terrorism.

Burma's top leader, General Than Shwe
The EU says Burma has failed to respect human rights
The ministers are meeting for two days in Brussels in a bid to improve relations which have been soured for years because of the EU's criticism of one Asean member, Burma.

The ministers agreed that co-operation in the fight against international terrorism should be improved; that means closer links between police and security agencies and a better system for sharing sensitive information more quickly.

In the wake of the bombing of a nightclub full of Western tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali last year, the EU is conscious that it needs a better intelligence relationship with Asean.

Burma 'irritant'

The ministers acknowledged that the fight against terrorism must be conducted with respect for human rights and humanitarian law.

The trouble is, that is exactly what the EU says the Burmese military government has been failing to do in all walks of life for years.

Both the EU and Asean want a stronger relationship in security matters and especially in trade.

But the lack of democracy in Burma will remain a constant irritant.

A Burmese Government minister was only allowed to visit Brussels after the EU granted a special exemption from sanctions.

See also:

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02 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
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