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bandar seri begawan -- The European Union will sign a regional non-aggression treaty initiated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as it moves to play a bigger role in Asia, officials said Friday.
ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan said in a Twitter message that the EU would sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation during a security-dominated meeting in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in July.
"Welcome EU!" Surin tweeted on the sidelines of a meeting of European and Southeast Asian foreign ministers in the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei.
Signing the treaty is one condition for participation in the East Asia Summit, a forum of countries including the 10-member ASEAN bloc, China, India, Russia and the United States that hold an annual summit.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said at a news conference after the meeting in Brunei that the EU would like to play a bigger role in Asia.
"Developing our relations with Asia across the board is a major strategic objective for the European Union," she said.
"The European Union wants to be an active and constructive player in Asian regionalism, including by taking part in the East Asia Summit," she added.
"We look forward to an early signature of the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation now that the conditions have been met for the signature by the European Union."
The treaty bans signatories from using violence to settle conflicts in the region.