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Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Friday, 29 July 2005 14:12 UK

Jedi knight stars at Asean gala

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as Darth Vader
Mr Lavrov's costume brought the house down

Australia's foreign minister asked for a date, the US deputy secretary of state played a cowboy, and the Japanese team ran wild with a rugby ball.

But the stars of a skit at a dinner after the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Laos were the Russians, participants agreed.

Dressed as a Jedi knight, Darth Vader, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stole the show.

Cloak-clad and with a lighted sword, Mr Lavrov brought the house down.

Helped by his assistant, Mr Lavrov entertained delegations from the 10-member Asean group by launching a tirade to the tune of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar hit.

Asean, Superstar... Do you think you're what they say you are? Asean, Asean! Why we accept whatever you have done? he chanted.

"We'd have managed better if we'd had it planned. Why'd we chose such a remote Aseanis land?" the Russian minister quipped.

His assistant replied: "You didn't do your homework, it's Asean way. You are too suspicious, their motives are good."

Rugby gag

Other performances included Australian FM Alexander Downer crooning "It's now or never", and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick belting the Wild West hit "Oh my darling Clementine".

The Japanese - aiming to host the rugby World Cup in 2011 - appeared on stage with a rugby ball.

They chanted that the Asean team can "stand tall and catch the high ball".

However, most of the participants agreed that the Russians were the star performers.

"The Russians were out of this world," Indian diplomat Sanjay Panda was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The skits are a regular feature of the gala dinners at the end of the annual Asean foreign ministers summit.

SEE ALSO
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