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|July 22, 1998||
Pakistan not to be invited to ASEAN
The Association of South-East Asian Nations has decided to turn down Japan's proposal to invite Pakistan to an annual security meeting in Manila because of objections from some members, an official said today.
Japan had proposed that Pakistani officials be invited to meet ASEAN foreign ministers and other members of the regional security forum to discuss tensions with India and the two nations' recent nuclear tests.
After their annual meeting in Manila starting on Friday, the ASEAN foreign ministers will be joined next Monday by other countries for a meeting of the ASEAN regional forum to discuss security issues. India, a member of the forum, has opposed Pakistan's participation.
Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Lauro Baja said senior ASEAN officials failed to agree on Japan's proposal at an informal meeting last night and, instead, considered inviting Pakistan to a smaller meeting of the ASEAN regional forum later this year.
Most countries had condemned the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan and demanded a halt to them. ASEAN, however, has had difficulty deciding how to collectively react in a way that would not offend India.
Baja said the officials were continuing to discuss whether to specifically name India and Pakistan in a statement on the nuclear tests, and whether to use the word "condemn'' in the statement.
Baja had earlier described the differing positions of ASEAN member countries on the two issues as "a bit bloody".
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