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EU: UN Envoy Should Return to Burma to Seek Aung San Suu Kyi's Freedom


The European Union says Burma should allow U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari to revisit the country as soon as possible.

The EU's special envoy for Burma says Gambari should focus on achieving concrete results, such as the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The EU official, Piero Fassino, says the European alliance will re-evaluate its policy on Burma - including sanctions - after it sees what Gambari's visit can achieve.

Fassino says sanctions against Burma are part of a strategy to open dialogue between the military government and its opponents, and not a goal in themselves.

The EU and United States tightened sanctions against Burma's leaders and its exports after the military government's bloody crackdown last year on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Many neighbor states that also condemned the crackdown in Burma oppose sanctions and other stronger measures.

The U.N. Security Council says Burma's military government has moved too slowly on enacting democratic reforms.

Following discussions with Gambari, the Security Council deplored Burma's inaction on Thursday. A council resolution in October called for democratic reforms, full respect for human rights, an end to forced labor and an end to the repression of ethnic minorities.

The Security Council urged Burma to grant Gambari permission to make another visit soon. The U.N. envoy was last in Burma in November. He says authorities there have said he should wait until mid-April before returning to Burma.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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