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UN Envoy Remains in Burma, Pledges to Meet With Top Junta Leader


A United Nations envoy has extended his mission in Burma - canceling a planned flight to Singapore and vowing to meet with Burma's top junta leader, Senior General Than Shwe.

Ibrahim Gambari has already 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.

Gambari met with Aung San Suu Kyi today (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 U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to several junta leaders earlier in the day in Naypyitaw, but did not get a meeting with Senior General Than Shwe.

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.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association say Burmese authorities have arrested and detained at least ten journalists, covering pro-democracy demonstrations.

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 report is provided by AP.

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