WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The White House rejected today conditions set by Myanmar's military ruler for meeting detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and urged the junta to talk to the opposition with no strings attached.
Expressing concern about a continuing government crackdown, the White House also called on the UN Security Council to send its envoy back to Myanmar as soon as possible to meet Suu Kyi and the junta to work toward a peaceful transition to democracy.
Senior General Than Shwe, who caused international outrage by sending in soldiers to crush peaceful monk-led demonstrations, was asking Suu Kyi to abandon the campaign for democracy that has kept her in detention for 12 of the last 18 years, her party's spokesman said.
Than Shwe, head of the latest junta in 45 unbroken years of military rule of the former Burma, set out his conditions for direct talks at a meeting with special U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Tuesday, state-run television said.
It said Suu Kyi must abandon ''confrontation,'' give up ''obstructive measures'' and support for sanctions and ''utter devastation,'' a phrase it did not explain.
Suu Kyi's party dismissed the junta's offer as surreal.
''We would hope that the leaders in Burma, the military junta, would not put conditions on a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi,'' White House spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters.
''What you saw from the monks who were protesting, their very limited call was for dialogue, and that dialogue should be without conditions. We want to see a transformation towards more freedom and democracy in Burma,'' he added.
With Gambari reporting to the UN Security Council today, Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said: ''The United States urges the UN Security Council to send Mr.
Gambari, at the earliest possible time, back to Burma.'' ''Reports from Burma that the Internet has been cut off and that innocent Burmese monks and others have been detained, continue to be causes for serious concern and we urge the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council to take these matters seriously and to act,'' he said.
REUTERS PDT VC2241