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ASEAN Summit Opens in Indonesia

  • VOA News

Indonesian military personnel man the main entrance to the venue of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 7, 2011.

Indonesian military personnel man the main entrance to the venue of the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 7, 2011.

A two-day summit of the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations opened Saturday in Indonesia.

An ongoing border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand is likely to be the focus of the meeting in Jakarta.

Leaders are also expected to discuss regional security, the economic community and the possibility of Burma hosting ASEAN.

On Friday, Indonesia's foreign minister, Marty Natalegwa, announced Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to accept Indonesian monitors on the border between the two countries to help prevent further military clashes. More than 20 people have died this year in repeated clashes between the two countries. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes on both sides of the border.

Also on Friday, Burma said it wants to host ASEAN in 2014.

The U.S. based Human Rights Watch said ASEAN would be reduced to "the laughingstock of intergovernmental forums" if Burma is allowed to chair the 10-nation bloc.

Last year’s election in Burma brought the issue of human rights within ASEAN to the forefront. Critics of the government say it manipulated the vote to ensure the military remains in power.

Human rights organizations criticized ASEAN for not confronting Burma about the abuses there.

ASEAN members are Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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

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