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    » 10/11/2007, 00.00

    MYANMAR

    UN, EU and US have not shaken the Beijing-backed military junta



    After days of discussion the UN Security Council approves a non-binding declaration condemning the Burmese regime. US threatens sanctions; EU is set to discuss what to do next Monday. In Mandalay soldiers roam the streets and government media continue to blame Western powers for the crisis.

    Yangon (AsiaNews) – Condemnations by the United Nations and threats of sanctions by the European Union and the United States have not shaken the Burmese military regime which continues its repression of the pro-democracy movement and its anti-Western propaganda.

    The junta’s official paper, the New Light of Myanmar, slammed Western powers, guilty in its eyes of fomenting September’s mass protest. According to the paper, demonstrators are staging a script written by foreign experts.

    International pressures

    The international community, to varying degrees and in accordance with individual national interests, continues its pressure on the Naypyidaw regime to end its repression and start a dialogue with the pro-democracy opposition.

    The United States, which has been the junta’s most vocal critic, warned it could slap new sanctions on the military regime unless it halts atrocities against its own people.

    The European Union announced that next Monday it will determine which sanctions to impose on the former Burma.

    For its part, the UN Security Council finally opted only for a declaration in which it “strongly deplores” the violence the Myanmese regime used against the peaceful demonstrations.

    In its statement the 15-member council calls on Myanmese authorities to release all political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and start a dialogue with the opposition and the country’s main ethnic groups.

    However, the resolution is not binding and will be voted on and adopted tomorrow. Its language was worked out to overcome objections from China and Russia, which feared that a too strongly-worded statement might further isolate the junta.

    Analysts stress however that sanctions, best friends.

    For this reason direct pressure must be put on China because it has huge interests in Myanmar. It is the military’s main arms supplier, sent in exchange for the country’s precious wood, minerals, gas and oil. It is also the main builder of roads and has swamped border regions with its goods.

    More arrests across the country

    Despite an apparent willingness to engage Aung San Suu Kyi in dialogue, nothing has changed in the country. Soldiers are no longer visible in the streets but they have been given carte blanche at night during curfew (9 pm to 5 am).

    Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based website set up by dissident Burmese, is in fact reporting indiscriminate arrests in Mandalay for curfew violations. People who might be a bit late because of work are stopped by officers asking for money to be let go (usually 30,000 kyat). If the victim cannot pay he is taken to prison.

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    See also

    31/08/2007 MYANMAR
    Calls for UN Security Council to intervene against Myanmar repression
    US lawmakers call on Bush to act. Street protests against high prices continue. Authorities send a list of wanted activists to local officials and hotel operators.

    30/11/2005 MYANMAR
    Washington urges UN to look into in Myanmar's human rights situation
    US ambassador sends letter focusing on the "deteriorating situation" in the former Burma. Myanmar's government wants to move the capital to a more central location to better control rebel areas, this according to General Sarki of the Karen Nationalist Union.

    06/11/2007 MYANMAR – UNITED NATIONS
    Doctors visit a sick Aung San Suu Kyi
    The spokesperson for the National League for Democracy says pro-democracy leader is under medical care but does not reveal what ails her. The opposition leader should meet UN envoy today or tomorrow but there are few hopes that the latter might see the country’s military strongman. The US is putting pressure on the UN to get concrete results.

    09/07/2010 KOREA – UNITED NATIONS
    UN to condemn Cheonan sinking, not Pyongyang
    The Security Council is set to vote on a US-drafted statement that “deplores the loss of life” on the sunken ROKS corvette, but does not accuse North Korea. Seoul reacts confirming naval drill with the United States.

    20/03/2007 IRAN – UNITED NATIONS
    Ahmadinejad gets ready to go to the UN by blocking IAEA inspectors
    Through his spokesman the Iranian president suggests he might have new things to say during the Security Council session that will discuss new sanctions against Iran. Some reports suggest Russia threatened Iran of withholding nuclear fuel if it does not suspend its uranium enrichment programme.



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