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All 10 ASEAN foreign ministers to meet next week on cyclone disaster.

SINGAPORE, May 14 Kyodo

The foreign ministers from all 10 ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, will take part in a special ASEAN meeting to be held next Monday in Singapore to discuss aid for cyclone-stricken Myanmar, Singapore's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

''All ASEAN foreign ministers have confirmed their participation,'' the ministry said in a statement.

Singapore last week proposed the meeting to discuss how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations can assist Myanmar in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which has killed tens of thousands.

''At the meeting, the ministers will discuss the humanitarian situation in Myanmar and consider how best to assist Myanmar in its relief and recovery efforts,'' the ministry said.

The Myanmar military government's reluctance and slowness to accept foreign humanitarian aid and allow foreign relief workers to assist in rescue efforts have embarrassed ASEAN.

Myanmar is expected to brief the upcoming meeting on the extent of the destruction wreaked by the cyclone and the kind of humanitarian aid and longer-term reconstruction assistance it requires, ASEAN official said.

While the meeting is likely to involve disaster management and reconstruction experts, ASEAN would prefer to take the cue from Myanmar before involving representatives from countries outside the region, they said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:May 19, 2008
Words:215
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