Russia warns against pressure on Myanmar

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MOSCOW, Sep 26 (Reuters) Russia, a veto-holding permanent member of the UN Security Council, warned yesterday against exerting pressure on the Myanmar military government over its actions to quell the strongest anti-junta protests in 20 years.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was closely watching protest marches by Buddhist monks and the Myanmar opposition in Yangon and several other cities.

''We consider any attempts to use the latest developments to exercise outside pressure or interference in the domestic affairs of this sovereign state to be counterproductive,'' the statement said.

It called on both the government and the opposition to ''exercise restaint'', but added: ''We still believe that the processes under way in Myanmar do not threaten international and regional peace and security.'' Russia's reaction to the Myanmar protests contrasted strongly to that of Western nations, which strongly condemned the military junta.

The UN Security Council was called to meet later today to consult on the situation in Myanmar.

REUTERS PD HT2157

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