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European Lawmakers Vow to Oppose Trade Deals Over Burma


A group of European parliament members has vowed to oppose any free trade deals between the European Union and Southeast Asia unless Burma makes democratic reforms.

A European parliamentary delegation is visiting the Philippines following the just-ended summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - ASEAN.

German lawmaker Hartmut Nassauer Friday praised Philippine President Gloria Arroyo for her public criticism of Burma at the summit.

However, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said ASEAN would not let the matter of Burma hold up trade talks with the EU. During meetings Thursday, the two blocs agreed to speed up trade talks linking some 37 countries and one billion people.

While the EU imposed more sanctions on Burma this week, ASEAN has rejected calls for sanctions and blocked a formal report from U.N. envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, at the summit.

Gambari did meet with Asian leaders informally on Wednesday.

Gambari has visited Burma twice since the military government's violent September crackdown that killed at least 15 people.

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