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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
UN envoy holds key Burmese talks
Ibrahim Gambari meets Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (02/09/07)
Mr Gambari first held talks with Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday
UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari has met detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a second time, hours after talks with military rulers.

The meeting took place on Mr Gambari's return from the new capital, Naypyidaw, where he conveyed to General Than Shwe concerns over a violent crackdown.

At least 10 people were killed, possibly many more, when troops ended days of pro-democracy demonstrations.

Rangoon, the main city and centre of unrest, has eased its curfew.

Loudspeakers mounted on trucks were used to announce it would run from 2200 (1430 GMT) to 0400 instead of 0900 to 0500.

The barbed-wire barricades have also been removed from around the Shwedagon and Sule pagodas, the focal points of earlier protests.

Kept waiting

Mr Gambari's meetings suggest he is trying to establish some kind of dialogue between the government and the opposition, BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head says.

A Burmese soldier patrols Rangoon's landmark Shwedagon Pagoda on 2 October
Rangoon's flash-point Shwedagon Pagoda has reopened
The envoy is now on his way to Singapore. He had waited four days to see Gen Than Shwe before the chairman of Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) made himself available.

No details have emerged but Mr Gambari was intending to urge the general "to cease the repression of peaceful protest", release detainees and embrace democracy and human rights, a UN spokesman said before the talks.

The US called on the UN envoy to press upon the military the need for a "real and serious political dialogue with all relative parties".

Mr Gambari came to the talks after his first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday.

He had also been taken by the Burmese authorities to see a pro-government rally in the town of Lashio.


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

They took advantage of protests staged initially by a small group of Buddhist clergy demanding apology for maltreatment of fellow monks by local authorities
Nyan Win
Burmese foreign minister

Nyan Win gave his government's version of events in Burma to the UN General Assembly.

Blaming "neo-colonialism" for distorting events in Burma, he said that a small initial protest "against the rise in fuel prices" had been exploited by "political opportunists".

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

Security forces, he said, had exercised "utmost restraint" against an "unruly and provocative" mob and "normalcy" had been restored.

'Disrobed and shackled'

Almost two weeks of sustained popular protest were halted when police and soldiers moved against protesters late last week.

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

Senior Gen Than Shwe (27 March 2007)
Gen Than Shwe heads the ruling junta and controls the army

About 4,000 monks have been rounded up in Rangoon over the past week and are being held at a disused race course and a technical college, the BBC has learned.

Sources from a government-sponsored militia said they would soon be sent to prisons in the far north of the country.

The monks have been disrobed and shackled, the sources told BBC radio's Burmese service. There are reports that the monks are refusing to eat.

In Geneva, the top UN human rights official told an emergency session of the Council that Burma's government must be held to account for its "shocking response" to the protests.

"The Myanmar [Burmese] authorities should no longer expect that their self-imposed isolation will shield them from accountability," High Commissioner Louise Arbour said.

The junta, she added, must give "precise and verifiable information" on the number of dead and injured as well as "the whereabouts and condition of those who have been arrested".

"As the protesters are becoming invisible, our concern only increases for the safety and well-being of the monks, presumably confined to their monasteries if not worse."

The 47-nation council lacks enforcement powers, and is limited to focusing global attention on human rights offenders.

Ibrahim Gambari meets with Burma's leaders


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