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UN Envoy Meets With Aung San Suu Kyi and Military Junta


The United Nation's special envoy to Burma has met with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and with members of Burma's ruling military junta to try to stop the its violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. Ibrahim Gambari has extended his mission in Burma - canceling a planned flight to Singapore and vowing to meet with Burma's top junta leader, Senior General Than Shwe. VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins in Jakarta has more.

Diplomats say the U.N. special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, met with opposition leader and Noble Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Sunday for about 90 minutes.

Aung San Suu Kyi was taken from her home to meet Gambari at the government guesthouse on the same street where she lives in Rangoon.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 11 of the past 18 years under house arrest.

Details of the meeting are not immediately known nor are those of Gambari's meeting Saturday with government officials in the new capital, Naypyitaw, about 380-kilometers north of Rangoon.

Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mitoji Yabunaka, is also visiting Burma to push for a full investigation into Wednesday's death of Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai. Video of the incident appears to show a soldier shooting him at close range.

"Firstly, I am going to Rangoon to investigate the truth behind the painful incident of a Japanese national who was killed, and to ensure the safety of Japanese residents in Myanmar," Yabunaka said. "Secondly, and this is the wish of the whole international community, to urge the rulers not to use force and to exercise restraint, negotiate seriously with the democratic movements of the country and start building a road towards democracy."

Demonstrations began August 19th to protest a steep increase in fuel prices, but later turned into mass anti-government marches led by legions of Buddhist monks.

The military junta began breaking up the protests with deadly force last Wednesday, arresting hundreds of monks and civilians. Burma's government says 10 people have been killed, but witnesses say many more have died.

Foreign journalists are being prevented from entering the country, so most information is coming from Burmese citizens who are posting news, photos, and videos on the Internet.

Governments and people around the world are expressing outrage over the use of violence in stopping the protests. Rallies in support of the pro-democracy protesters have been held in cities around the world.

Burma's neighboring nations in Southeast Asia are among those speaking out. Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia's United Nations ambassador, says Indonesia is deeply disturbed by the violence.

"Obviously the evolving situation in Burma has become a source of great concern for us which we are following very closely," Natalegawa said. "We have stated on record our sense of dismay and how disturbed we are by the unfolding developments, the use of force by the Burmese authorities."

The impoverished nation of Burma has been ruled by the military for the past 45 years and has one of the worst human rights records in the world.