UK's Brown says may offer economic help to Myanmar

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LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today he was prepared to offer economic help to Myanmar if it began moves towards democracy.

''We are prepared to draw up a package of measures for the improvement of the Burmese economy, with other world leaders, that would be available if Burma is prepared to move towards democracy and reconciliation,'' Brown told reporters after accepting a petition from Myanmar pro-democracy campaigners.

Brown said he would be writing to world leaders today to canvass support for such a proposal.

''I believe the gaze of the whole world will remain on the Burmese regime as long as people know about the violence being practised against Burmese citizens,'' he said.

European Union foreign ministers meeting today are due to consider widening EU sanctions from the existing asset freezes, travel bans and limited commercial embargoes to include trade in timber, gems and precious metals -- all major sources of revenue for the junta.

Two weeks ago pro-democracy protests in Myanmar, formerly Burma, were crushed by the military junta. Many protestors were arrested and some killed.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his British counterpart David Miliband said in an article published on Monday it was important to offer incentives as well as threats.

''The EU needs to consider a package of positive measures to the Burmese people should the regime show its willingness to genuinely work for reconciliation,'' they wrote in the International Herald Tribune.

Brown was handed a petition at his London office signed by 750,000 people expressing outrage at events in Myanmar.

REUTERS SKB HS1720

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