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US backs central role for Asean

Obama’s 90-minute meeting today with region’s leaders expected to upgrade relations to a key partner

US President Barack Obama will today endorse the centrality of Asean in new regional community building and an expansive role for it in global issues, at the inaugural Asean-US Leaders’ Meeting in Singapore.

Obama, who is scheduled to hold a 90-minute meeting this afternoon with the 10 Asean leaders, will also pronounce the policy of engagement with Asean as a key partner in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

The historic meeting, which is being co-chaired by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, marks the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides. It will also be the first time in 43 years that a Burmese prime minister has met a US leader.

The draft joint statement, seen by The Nation on Sunday, touches on the whole gamut of Asean and US relations in the past 32 years related to political/security, economic/investment and social development issues.

(The Nation)

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