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Indonesia asmits to split on Burma.

		Indonesia admits to split on Burma

	A rare split in the ranks of ASEAN countries over Burma's request 
to gain full ASEAN membership next year is set to be raised at a leaders' 
summit in Jakarta tommorow.

	Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, said although there 
was no formal agenda for the meeting, Burma's membership could be raised 
- and for the first time Mr Alatas acknowledged a split over the issue.

	Several Association of South-East Asian Nations members have 
expressed reservations over Burma's early admittance to ASEAN, given 
human rights abuses and the repression of democracy in that country.

	"You can read it yourself. There have been open statements made 
by the Philippine, Thailand and Singapore, so it's not a secret," Mr 
Alatas said, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

	Burma is due to attend the informal summit in Jakatar, along with 
two other prospective members, Cambodia and Laos.

	Indonesia has been one of the strongest advocates of the early 
admittance of Burma as a full member of ASEAN, firmly rejecting criticism 
from Western countries on the human rights issue.

	Mr Alatas said issues domestic to prospective member countries 
were not a deciding factor in  membership.

	In July, at a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers, Burma took the first 
step to membership when it was accepted as an observer in the ASEAN Regional 
Forum, a security body.

	ASEAN members are agreed on Burma's eventual acceptance as a 
member, but not the timing.

	In recent months, the Burmese junta has intensified its crackdown 
on the opposition National League for Democracy, whose leader, Ms Aung 
San Suu Kyi, won national elections in 1990.

	The military regime later annulled the vote.

	The current members of ASEAN are Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, 
Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.

[AFP, 30 November 1996].