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UN Human Rights Council Calls Emergency Session on Burma


In Geneva, the Council announced its decision Friday, after a request from the European Union. The session will be held next Tuesday.

A statement by the Portuguese Ambassador Franciso Xavier Esteves, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said European leaders are deeply distressed that Burma has failed to heed the call from the international community for restraint.

Earlier, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expressed "revulsion" at the killings of at least 10 demonstrators in Rangoon over the last two days and it called on Burma to halt the violence.

In other news, China and Japan have agreed to cooperate to help end the crisis. In a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, said China will use its influence with Burma.

The U.S. government also has urged China, with its close economic and mineral ties, to press Burma to stop the violence. But China has so far blocked efforts by the U.N. Security Council to censure Burma's military government.

In Beijing's first statement about this week's events, the government said Thursday it hopes all parties in Burma handle the situation properly and exercise restraint.

In the Australian capital of Canberra, protesters clashed with police while trying to charge the Burmese embassy. Several people were arrested.

Similar protests in reaction to the violence in Burma were held in European and Asian cities.

Gambari has been sent by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mediate between the Burmese protesters and the government. Government leaders all over the world continue to condemn the Burmese leadership.

The United States and the European Union have long-standing sanctions against Burma, and U.S. President George Bush announced additional sanctions earlier this week.

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