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UN Envoy Warns Burma of Serious International Consequences

05 October 2007

United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari has warned Burma's military rulers that their violent crackdown on anti-government protests could have serious international consequences.

While briefing the U.N. Security Council Friday about his recent trip to Burma, Gambari urged Burmese leaders to engage in a broad-based process of constitutional reform. He suggested a process of national consultation that would culminate in a referendum facilitated by the United Nations.

Gambari told the Council he was not successful in gathering information about events inside Burma during his visit. But he said he was more successful in expressing the concerns of the international community and in encouraging dialogue between Burma's military leaders and opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi.

Before the briefing, the White House urged the U.N. to send Gambari back to Burma as soon as possible to work with Aung San Suu Kyi and military leaders towards a peaceful transition to democracy. It called on the U.N. Security Council to act.

Earlier, Burmese opposition figures and analysts greeted with skepticism a statement that the country's military head is willing to meet with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burmese state media said ruling General Than Shwe is willing to meet directly with Aung San Suu Kyi if she gives up her support for confrontation with and sanctions against the government.

A spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Nyan Win said Friday that the opposition leader will consider the reported offer.

In Burma, the U.S. envoy in Rangoon, Shari Villarosa, and other diplomats traveled to the country's administrative capital, Naypyidaw to meet with Burma's military leaders Friday. Details of their discussions were not immediately available.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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