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UN warns Yangon, Suu Kyi no to talks

Yangon, Oct. 5 (Reuters): Detained Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party dismissed the Myanmar junta’s offer of talks as a surrender demand today and a UN envoy warned of international consequences from its brutal suppression of pro-democracy protesters.

Ibrahim Gambari, addressing the UN Security Council after a four-day visit to Myanmar, called for the release of all political prisoners there and voiced concern at reports of continuing government abuses after last week’s protests.

“Of great concern to the UN and the international community are the continuing and disturbing reports of abuses being committed by security and non-uniformed elements, particularly at night during curfew, including raids on private homes, beatings, arbitrary arrests, and disappearances,” Gambari told the Council.

He said the Myanmar government must recognise that what happened there “can have serious international repercussions.” The US said it would propose sanctions at the 15-member Council if Myanmar did not “respond constructively” to international concerns, but success seemed unlikely with veto-wielding China firmly opposed to such action.

In a warning to the world body, Myanmar urged the UN to take no action that would harm its “good offices” role in defusing the crisis there.

The Opposition in Yangon dismissed the junta’s offer of talks with Suu Kyi as effectively asking her to abandon the campaign for democracy that has kept her in detention for 12 of the last 18 years.

“They are asking her to confess to offences that she has not committed,” said Nyan Win, spokesman for the Nobel peace laureate’s National League for Democracy, whose election victory in 1990 was ignored by the generals.

Than Shwe, head of the latest junta in 45 unbroken years of military rule of the former Burma, set out his conditions for direct talks at a meeting with Gambari last Tuesday, state-run television said. It said Suu Kyi must abandon “confrontation,” give up “obstructive measures” and support for sanctions and “utter devastation,” a phrase it did not explain.

Nyan Win demanded Suu Kyi be allowed to respond in public. That is unlikely. The only time Suu Kyi has been seen in public since she was last detained in May 2003 was during one of the monk-led demonstrations when protesters were allowed through the barricades sealing off her street.

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