UN council agrees statement on Myanmar-diplomat

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 11 (Reuters) The UN Security Council agreed today on a statement deploring the Myanmar government's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, a Western diplomat said.

Western countries and China had resolved differences over the wording of the statement, first drafted by the United States, Britain and France last Friday, the diplomat told Reuters on condition he was not identified.

''We have an agreement,'' the diplomat said, adding that the statement was expected to be issued soon.

It would be the first time the council had taken any action over Myanmar and mark a shift of position by China, which had previously used its veto to stop the 15-nation body voicing criticism of Myanmar's ruling military junta.

The United Nations, meanwhile, said special envoy Ibrahim Gambari would set off over the weekend for an Asian tour expected to culminate in his second visit to Myanmar since the demonstrations erupted.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had decided to dispatch Gambari to Thailand, where he will hold talks on Monday, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan ''with a view to returning to Myanmar shortly thereafter,'' a UN statement said.

Gambari, who returned from a four-day visit to Myanmar last week, had originally planned to make a second visit in mid-November.

Western diplomats said they hoped that Gambari, who aims to secure the release of political detainees and get a political dialogue started, would be in Myanmar before the end of October.

REUTERS SYU BST2321

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