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Powell Croons 'YMCA' At Asia Meet

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday, performing a version of the Village People's hit "YMCA" at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting.

Tradition dictates that the meeting wrap up with a night of song and dance, provided by the diplomats themselves.

In 1997 Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state, bowled over the ministers when she performed a musical skit dressed as Evita Peron.

On Friday, Powell danced alongside five other U.S. officials sporting costumes that included an Indian headdress.

The group blasted out a version of the 1970s disco classic, to the delight of foreign ministers from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

"President Bush, he said to me: 'Colin, I need you to run the Department of State. We are between a rock and a hard place," Powell and his colleagues sang to the tune of the disco classic.

The after-dinner show is an annual highlight of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a time for ministers to loosen up after discussing security issues.

The event is closed to the press, but reporters regularly go out of their way to get the scoop.

The Russian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, sang a version of the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" as a woman waving a Russian flag ran around the dinner tables.

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh read a poem before his delegation burst into a song.

"I'm not worried — but the audience should be," Singh said before attending the gala dinner.

By Slobodan Lekic

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