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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Envoy's trip not a success

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that his special envoy delivered "the strongest possible message" to Myanmar's military leaders about their bloody crackdown on democracy activists, but added that he couldn't call the trip "a success."

Ban said he would meet with the U.N. Security Council on Friday to discuss what to do about human rights abuses in Myanmar, calling the situation there a top international concern.

"We will discuss closely with the Security Council members what action to take in the future," he said.

Ban didn't say if he had specific steps in mind. But China, which as a permanent member of the council can veto its actions, is a close ally of Myanmar's government.

Special envoy Ibrahim Gambari was scheduled to sit down with Ban on Thursday to report on his four-day trip to the Southeast Asian nation, where troops quelled mass protests with gunfire last week and continued to round up suspected activists.

Asked about Gambari's visit, Ban said, "You cannot call it a success."

But, he added, "I was relatively relieved that he was first of all able to meet with leaders of the Myanmar government as well as Madame Aung San Suu Kyi," the opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate who is under house arrest.

Gambari urged the junta's leaders to stop repressing peaceful protesters, release detainees, move toward real democratic reform, respect human rights and reconcile with their political opponents, the U.N. spokesman's office said.

In discussing the situation in Myanmar, Ban singled out the strong statement sent to the junta by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar.

ASEAN expressed "revulsion" at the crackdown on peaceful protesters and strongly urged the military regime "to exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution."

Credit: http://news.yahoo.com/

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