Indonesian leader airs concern on Burma violence
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Indonesian leader airs concern on Burma violence

BANDER SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AP) — Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has conveyed to his Burma counterpart his concerns about the deadly outbreak of anti-Muslim unrest in the former military-ruled nation, Indonesia’s top diplomat said Wednesday.

The leader of the world’s most populous Muslim country discussed the sectarian violence with President Thein Sein during a visit Tuesday to Burma, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian diplomatic summit in Brunei’s capital.

The two leaders also discussed Burma’s widely praised democratic reforms, Natalegawa said.

Natalegawa, who accompanied Yudhoyono to Burma, said Indonesia was confident that Thein Sein’s government “is trying to do the right thing in terms of getting the communal conflict under control.”

Indonesia and Thailand, who along with Burma are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, separately offered their help to Thein Sein’s government.

Indonesian and Thai diplomats said it was unclear whether the sectarian violence in Burma would be discussed during a summit of ASEAN leaders in Bandar Seri Begawan on Thursday.

The summit will focus on long-simmering territorial disputes and a plan by Southeast Asian nations to turn their region into a European Union-like community by the end of 2015, Natalegawa said.

A Burma diplomat, Aung Lynn, said the deadly sectarian attacks were a domestic issue that his government has been trying to resolve.

The spread of sectarian violence has posed one of the greatest challenges yet to Thein Sein’s nascent government. Burma’s Rakhine state was shaken twice by anti-Muslim violence last year. In March, the deadly unrest spread for the first time to central Burma.