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UN Burma Envoy Meets Singapore Officials


The United Nations' special envoy to Burma has met with government officials in Singapore on his six-nation tour of Asia, meant to help find a peaceful solution to Burma's political conflict.

The government of Singapore said Sunday that officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs met with Ibrahim Gambari in Singapore between his visits to Jakarta in Indonesia and New Delhi in India. In a statement, the government said Gambari was assured that Singapore will do all it can to support national reconciliation and a political solution in Burma.

Singapore says it hopes Burma will cooperate with Gambari and allow him access to opposition representatives, in particular the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

President Bush announced new economic restrictions against Burma's military government last week and urged Burma's neighbors, including China and India, to put more pressure on the military government. The European Union decided last
week to impose an import embargo on timber, gems, and precious metals from Burma.

Gambari has suggested an alternate strategy -- offering the military government incentives in exchange for democratic reforms, to show Burma's rulers that the international community is not trying to punish them.

Burmese authorities have cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators in recent weeks, including Buddhist monks who led the protests. The government says it is holding hundreds of protesters for interrogation, but opposition activists say the number may be far higher. Authorities say troops killed 10 protesters, but that figure also is disputed.

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