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Red Cross 'Deeply Worried' About Fate of Those Arrested in Burma


The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is "deeply worried" about the fate of thousands of people arrested during the recent government crackdown in Burma.

Senior Red Cross official, Pierre Kraehenbuehl said in an interview Monday that the humanitarian group is seeking access to the detainees, but that efforts to reach them have not produced results.

Japan has canceled nearly $5 million in aid to Burma because of the crackdown, which resulted in the shooting death of a Japanese journalist.

Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was killed September 27 while filming the demonstrations in Rangoon.

Burmese authorities put down pro-democracy demonstrations in Rangoon last month, killing at least 10 people. Since then, thousands of monks and activists have been arrested, and many are believed to have been killed.

Despite the violence, Malaysia says the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will never suspend Burma from the 10-nation bloc.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar says dialogue with Burma should continue but not under threats. He says the best way to resolve the situation is through the United Nations.

The Associated Press quotes U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday as saying he hopes continued dialogue between his special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, and the Burmese authorities will be able to make progress. He also urged the Burmese government to move more quickly toward democracy.

Gambari is on a regional tour of Southeast Asia to gather support for political reconciliation in Burma. He is expected to meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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