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UN Security Council Debates Action on Burma


The U.N. Security Council on Friday debated whether to impose sanctions or take other action in response to Burma's violent crackdown on anti-government protests.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Washington will introduce a resolution imposing sanctions, such as an arms embargo, if the Burmese government does not respond appropriately to the international community's concerns.

China opposed pressuring Burma, saying that could lead to mistrust and confrontation, while Burma's Ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe said no action by the Security Council is warranted.

Earlier, United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari briefed the council about his recent trip to Burma. He demanded that Burma immediately release all political prisoners, including those detained during the recent pro-democracy protests.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe told VOA (Persian Service) Washington wants to see a free and prosperous Burma, where people can march in the streets and say what they want without being persecuted.

Burmese state media acknowledged Friday that hundreds of monks were detained during the crackdown, but it said all but 109 have been released. The announcement followed Thursday's report that authorities arrested more than two thousand people during the past week.

Also Friday, a press freedom group called on Burma to release all detained journalists, including six arrested during last week's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Reporters Without Borders said at least 11 journalists are currently in Burmese jails. Japanese reporter Kenji Nagai was shot and killed while covering the rallies in Rangoon.

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