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US to push for UN Myanmar resolution early in 2007

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Dec 29: The United States vowed to renew efforts early next year to pass a UN Security Council resolution to prod Myanmar's military rulers to ease repression and improve humanitarian conditions.

''We remain concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian and political situation in Burma, which poses a threat to stability in the region,'' said State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey, using the country's former name, yesterday.

The United States would pursue a resolution ''as soon as possible in the new year'' urging the government in Yangon to allow greater freedom and improved humanitarian conditions, he said in a written statement.

The United States has repeatedly pledged to ask the Security Council to take action on Myanmar but has not yet introduced a promised draft resolution.

John Bolton, the then-US ambassador to the United Nations, said a month ago he would offer a resolution ''within the next few days or weeks'' telling Myanmar's junta to stop policies that threatened international peace and security.

Russia, a permanent member of the 15-nation council with veto power, and others on the council argued at the time that Myanmar did not constitute an international threat to peace and security, which is the council's mandate under the UN Charter.

The military has run Myanmar under various guises since 1962 and the current group of generals took power in 1988.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been in and out of house arrest after her National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1990.

Casey's statement described a bleak situation in Myanmar, a multiethnic Southeast Asian country of 52 million people.

''Violence against ethnic minorities continues, more than a million Burmese have been displaced internally or to neighboring countries, complaints of forced labor continue to emerge, narcotics continue to flow across borders, and the regime holds over 1,100 political prisoners,'' it said.

Exiled Myanmar activists voiced gratitude for the US effort but urged others to support council action.

''We expect China and Russia and other members of the UN Security Council will work together with the United States to make sure people of Burma will be free from all man-made sufferings in the new year,'' said Aung Din, policy director of the US Campaign for Burma, a Washington-based group.

Reuters

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