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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 05:23 GMT 06:23 UK
Burmese FM blames 'opportunists'
Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win - 1/10/2007
Nyan Win said security forces exercised restraint
Burma's Foreign Minister Nyan Win has blamed "political opportunists" for trying to turn protests by a small group of activists into a showdown.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly, he said "normalcy" had returned to Burma after days of pro-democracy protests.

At least nine people were killed, and possibly many more, when security forces ended days of mass protests.

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has met Burma's military leader General Than Shwe, officials said.

Mr Gambari had been waiting four days to see the general.

No details have emerged of the meeting, but he is in Burma to convey the international community's concerns over the violent crackdown.

He would also have been able to pass on the views of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he met on Sunday.

'Utmost restraint'

The general's reaction to Mr Gambari's comments is likely to have been the same as that of the foreign minister Myan Win to the UN, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Bangkok, in neighbouring Thailand.

They sought to turn the situation into a political showdown aided and abetted by some powerful countries
Nyan Win
Burmese foreign minister

In front of an international audience at the general assembly, Nyan Win gave his government's version of events in Burma.

He said "neo-colonialism has reared its ugly head" by trying to spread disinformation about human rights abuses in Burma.

"The situation would not have deteriorated had the initial protest of a small group of activists against the rise in fuel prices had not been exploited by political opportunists," he said.

"They sought to turn the situation into a political showdown aided and abetted by some powerful countries.

"They also took advantage of protests tagged initially by a small group of Buddhist clergy demanding apology for maltreatment of fellow monks by local authorities."

He said that security forces had exercised "utmost restraint" when they stepped in after "the mob became unruly and provocative".

"Normalcy has now returned to Myanmar [Burma]," he said.

UN envoy

Almost two weeks of sustained popular protest, centred in the main city of Rangoon, was halted when police and soldiers moved against protesters late last week.

The authorities said 10 people were killed as the protests were dispersed, though diplomats and activists say the number of dead was many times higher.

On Monday, the centre of Rangoon was almost back to normal, a reporter, who cannot be identified for security reasons, told the BBC.

On Saturday, when Mr Gambari travelled to the new capital Naypidaw, he was allowed to meet only more junior members of the government.

On Sunday, Mr Gambari held talks with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon - the first foreigner to be permitted to do so for 10 months.



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