U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the southeast Asian
regional bloc has an important role to play in pushing Burma towards
Attending the annual meeting of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, in Singapore Wednesday, Rice says the
group can address the repression of Burma's democracy movement, which
she calls the root cause of Burma's "grave problem."
She says it
is in ASEAN's interest to convince Burma's ruling military rulers to
free its political prisoners and open a dialog with pro-democracy
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he
shared those views during a meeting Tuesday with his Burmese
counterpart, Nyan Win.
Smith says he informed Nyan Win that
Canberra will contribute an additional $29 million to fund relief
efforts in Burma's Irrawaddy Delta, which was devastated by Cyclone
Nargis in early May.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.