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Malaysian Official: ASEAN Will Never Suspend Burma From Bloc


Malaysia says the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will never suspend Burma from the 10-nation bloc, despite the military government's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar says dialogue with Burma should continue but not under threats. He says the best way to resolve the situation is through the United Nations.

Syed Hamid spoke after meeting Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur with United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is on a regional tour trying to gather support for political reconciliation in Burma.

Gambari is expected to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Wednesday.

In other news, the International Committee of the Red Cross says it is "deeply worried" about the fate of thousands of people who have been arrested during the government crackdown in Burma.

Senior Red Cross official Pierre Kraehenbuehl says the humanitarian group is seeking access to the detainees but that its efforts to reach them have not produced results.

Separately, Japan has canceled nearly five million dollars in aid to Burma because of the crackdown that resulted in the shooting death of a Japanese journalist.

Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was killed September 27 while filming the crackdown on protesters in Rangoon.

Burmese authorities used force to crush pro-democracy demonstrations in Rangoon last month, killing at least 10 people. Since then, thousands of monks and activists have been arrested, and many are believed to have been killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .

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