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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:08, June 28, 2005
Australia ready to sign regional amity treaty
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Australia is ready to sign the Southeast Asia's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation to gain a seat at the East Asia summit in December, according to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Monday.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio quoted Downer as saying that Canberra will sign the treaty as long as it does not harm other alliances, including the one with the United States.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has made Australia's signing of the non-aggression treaty as a precondition to attend the East Asia summit.

"We see the East Asia summit as the birth of a growing East Asian community, so it makes good sense for the region, for Australia, to be involved," he said.

"If the price is signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, we'll do that," he said, adding Australia could sign it "without it in any way interfering with treaties and other arrangements we have with countries outside of the ASEAN region."

He said he and his ASEAN counterparts will meet and discuss the matter next month.

"If we can satisfy ourselves about various concerns we have, then we would be prepared to sign it, particularly as signing it will ensure that Australia can participate in the East Asia summit process," he said.

Canberra had refused to sign the treaty, a 1976 ASEAN pact to bind contracting parties to settle regional disputes amicably, fearing it could undermine Australia's alliance with the United States.

Source: Xinhua


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