UN draft demands Myanmar rulers end repression

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 6 (Reuters) Western powers circulated a draft statement on Myanmar to the UN Security Council condemning repression by the junta and demanding it free political detainees and start a dialogue with the opposition.

The statement drafted by the United States, Britain and France said a return to the situation before the past weeks of demonstrations by pro-democracy activists and their forcible suppression by the military government would be unacceptable.

The circulation of the draft to the 15 Security Council members followed a report to the council yesterday morning by UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who warned the Myanmar government of serious consequences of its actions.

Because Security Council statements have to be unanimous, the draft will need to be approved by, among others, China, which has in the past blocked UN action against Myanmar.

Diplomats said experts from council member states would discuss the text on Monday, a process that could result in changes.

Unlike a resolution, a statement has no legal force. But if a strongly worded text were approved by China, until now Myanmar's closest ally on the council, it would send a forceful message to the junta.

The draft, obtained by Reuters, condemned Myanmar's ''violent repression ... of peaceful demonstrations'' and called on authorities to ''cease repressive measures.'' ''The Security Council calls for the immediate release of those detained ... and for a full account to be provided of those jailed, missing, or killed,'' it said. It also demanded the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ''and all other political prisoners''.

The text said the council demanded that Myanmar ''engage without further delay'' in dialogue with leaders of all political and ethnic groups aimed at ''genuine reconciliation ... and democratization.'' It called for ''urgent and tangible results in the next few days and weeks,'' and said Myanmar should provide ''full and unlimited access'' for a follow-up visit Gambari is due to make to ''maintain momentum and maximize the prospects for concrete progress.'' REUTERS PD BST0912

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