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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 October 2007, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Malaysia presses for Burma talks
Aung San Suu Kyi (R) with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari
The junta is putting conditions on talking to Aung San Suu Kyi
Malaysia has urged the Burmese military to drop preconditions for talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the move was necessary if Burma was to avoid stronger international pressure.

Burmese state media reported military leader Gen Than Shwe had agreed to meet Ms Suu Kyi, but only if she ended calls for international sanctions on Burma.

Malaysia and regional grouping Asean also oppose sanctions, which are being called for by the US, UK and France.

I want the EU to impose further sanctions on the regime to make it absolutely clear we will not tolerate the abuses that have taken place
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown

The opposition in Rangoon says that by putting such conditions on any meeting the junta is effectively asking Ms Suu Kyi to abandon her campaign for democracy.

"They are asking her to confess to offences that she has not committed," said Nyan Win, spokesman for the National League for Democracy.

Meanwhile reports from Rangoon say barricades have been removed from some of the city's main temples, although members of the security forces remain at key flashpoints.

Regional concerns

The authorities have announced that they are still holding 1,000 people arrested over recent weeks, including more than 100 Buddhist monks.

But foreign governments and dissidents fear the real number of people detained could be several times the figure the authorities are admitting to.

Barbed wore coiled on Rangoon street
Reports say many of the barricades in Rangoon have been removed
BBC sources in Burma say as many as 10,000 people - many of them monks - were rounded up for interrogation following the protests.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Bangkok says the comments by Mr Albar reflect concern among the country's neighbours that the crisis in Burma could get a lot worse unless a way can be found to bring the government and the opposition to the negotiating table.

Malaysia is worried that the calls from the United States and the EU for the international community to get tougher on the Burmese authorities will continue, our correspondent says.

Western push

On Saturday campaigners in 30 cities around the world staged a series of rallies against the bloody crackdown on anti-government protests in Burma.

The day of marches began in New Zealand, then moved to Asia and Europe and then North America.

Burma protesters in New York
On Saturday protests pressuring the junta were held worldwide
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown met marchers in London and vowed to keep up "pressure for change".

"I want the EU to impose further sanctions on the regime to make it absolutely clear we will not tolerate the abuses that have taken place," he told a delegation of Burmese exiles and campaigners at Downing Street.

Meanwhile at the UN, Western diplomats have circulated a draft statement denouncing the "violent repression" of pro-democracy protests.

The US, France and the UK called for immediate dialogue with opposition leaders, while the US suggested it would push for sanctions on Burma.

But China and Russia remain opposed to sanctions, saying the situation in Burma is an internal affair that does not threaten international peace and security.


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