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UN Envoy Meets Members of Burma's Military Govt., Pro-Democracy Leader


A United Nations envoy has met with several of Burma's military rulers and with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a bid to end the deadly military crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Ibrahim Gambari met with Aung San Suu Kyi Sunday for more than an hour at a government guest house in Rangoon. The Nobel laureate has been confined for more than a decade and is rarely granted visitors.

Gambari delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to several junta leaders earlier in the day (in Naypyitaw). The UN says Gambari hopes to meet with top General Than Shwe before the envoy ends his mission.

There were no crowds today in Rangoon, as thousands of troops and police continued to lock down the central city.

Troops fired into crowds of protesters last week, killing at least 10 people. Western diplomats and other witnesses say they believe the death toll is much higher.

Meanwhile, Japan's deputy foreign minister (Mitoji Yabunaka) traveled to Burma Sunday to press for democratic reforms. He also is demanding a formal investigation into the shooting death of a Japanese journalist by a Burmese soldier during the demonstrations last Thursday.

The demonstrations began last month after the government abruptly doubled fuel prices. Burma's revered monks then took the lead in the demonstrations, turning them into a widespread protest against 45 years of oppressive military rule.

Pope Benedict voiced serious concern Sunday about the situation in Burma and said he strongly hoped that a peaceful solution would be found.

Information for this story is provided by AP, AFP, and Reuters.

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