Monday, October 8, 2007

UN Security Council to meet tomorrow, under pressure to quickly slam Myanmar

(AFX UK Focus) 2007-10-07 18:20 GMT:

UNITED NATIONS (Thomson Financial) - Faced with mounting world outrage over violence in Myanmar, the UN Security Council is set to meet tomorrow under pressure to quickly condemn the military regime for crushing pro-democracy protests.

The 15-member body is due to weigh a draft statement that would condemn "the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations" by Myanmar's rulers, urge them to "cease repressive measures" and release detainees as well as all political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The non-binding text, drafted by the United States, Britain and France, was submitted Friday to the full council after members heard a report from UN emissary Ibrahim Gambari on his recent mission to defuse the crisis.

But despite worldwide protests yesterday in support of Myanmar's embattled pro-democracy movement, the draft was likely to be toned down at the request of China, Russia and possibly Indonesia before it can be adopted by consensus, diplomats said.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's state press on Sunday trumpeted the release of hundreds of monks and demonstrators ahead of the security council's meeting on the junta's crackdown.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said that more than half of the 2,171 people arrested after the biggest anti-government protests in nearly two decades has been released, repeating figures given late Saturday on state TV.

The government paper specified that nearly 400 of 533 Buddhist monks detained had been "sent back to their respective monasteries."

The United States has threatened to push for UN sanctions against Myanmar's ruling generals, including an arms embargo, if they refuse to halt their crackdown and to cooperate with Gambari's mediation for national reconciliation.

But any sanctions resolution was likely to face resistance and possibly a veto from China and Russia which both argue that the turmoil in the southeast Asian country is an internal matter that does not represent a threat to regional or international peace and security. afp/vlb


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