India should persuade Junta talks: US

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Washington, Jan 9:The Bush Administration wants India to use its influence to support the UN efforts, pressing the Burmese military regime to initiate a 'genuine dialogue' with the country's democratic opposition.

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, in an article in the Washington Post, said ''three months have passed since the world called on the dictators, Gens Than Shwe and Maung Aye, to end their brutal crackdown on tens of thousands of peaceful monks and other demonstrators and begin a genuine dialogue with Burma's democratic and ethnic minority leaders -- with the goal of a transition to democracy.'' The time has come for them to act, he added.

With the strong backing of the UN Security Council, its special adviser Ibrahim Gambari has made two trips to Myanmar since the crackdown to try to facilitate a dialogue. Through him, democratic leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has reaffirmed her willingness to participate in a ''meaningful and time-bound'' dialogue to be joined by representatives of the country's ethnic minority groups.

This is a rare opportunity to help put Myanmar on the path to democratic civilian rule and to greater stability and prosperity, said Burns.

''It is critical that China, India, the ASEAN countries and Burma's other neighbors use any and all influence to support the UN effort and press the regime to initiate a dialogue. It is also why the United Nations should quicken the pace of its diplomacy,'' he stated.


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