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Pro-Burmese Government Demonstrators Gather in Rangoon


Demonstrators have gathered in Rangoon for a government-orchestrated rally in support of Burma's military government, as pressure grows on Burmese authorities to negotiate with the pro-democracy opposition.

Burma's government violently crushed protests last month, triggering condemnation Thursday by the UN Security Council. The Security Council issued a statement deploring the military crackdown, and calling for a genuine dialogue with opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma's military government rejected the statement, saying the situation in Burma did not harm regional peace and security.

Burma's government says it will continue to cooperate with the UN, while implementing its own plan for a transition to democratic rule.

The main Burmese opposition party, the National League for Democracy, said that as a member of the United Nations, Burma has a responsibility to implement its recommendations soon.

In Washington, the White House says it would like to see UN envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari return to the country as soon as possible to meet with government officials and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Gambari is scheduled to visit other countries in the region before returning to Burma for his second trip since the military crackdown.

Gambari will begin his Asian tour Monday in Thailand, continuing on to Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan before
visiting Burma.

Burmese officials say the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters left 10 people dead. Dissidents put the number of fatalities at 200.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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