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UPDATED: 16:27, December 14, 2005
East Asia Summit to consider Russia's participation
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Leaders attending the inaugural East Asia Summit have agreed to consider Russia's participation in future summits, the Chairman's Statement of the meeting said Wednesday.

"We (the leaders) welcomed the Russian Federation's expression of interest to participate in the East Asia Summit and agreed to consider its participation in future East Asia Summits based on the criteria established by ASEAN," said the statement issued after the summit concluded Wednesday afternoon.

"We reiterated our agreement that the East Asia Summit should remain open and outward looking, with ASEAN as the driving force working in partnership with the other participants of the East Asia Summit," it added.

The First East Asia Summit, the highlight of a series of related summits to the Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held on Dec. 12-14, gathered leaders from the 10 ASEAN member states and those from China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the leaders during a special session of the summit as a guest of the Malaysian government.

The summit, a forum for strategic discussions on key issues affecting the region and the evolving regional architecture, will be convened annually, according to the statement.

The Second East Asia Summit will be held in Cebu, the Philippines, on Dec. 13,2006.

Source: Xinhua

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