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UN Special Envoy to Burma Wants Stronger Role to Resolve Crisis

The United Nations special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is telling Asian leaders that his role in helping resolve Burma's political crisis needs to be beefed up.

Speaking with Asian leaders in Singapore Wednesday, Gambari said that he needs to test Burma's willingness to live up to its pledge to work with the world body.

Gambari has visited Burma twice since the military government's bloody September crackdown on pro-democracy and anti-government protesters that killed at least 15 people.

Gambari was originally scheduled to brief a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other Asian leaders this week on his efforts to resolve the crisis. But that planned briefing was derailed following opposition from Burma, which is a member of the 10-nation bloc.

Gambari said that he was disappointed that his appearance at the ASEAN meeting was canceled, but was satisfied that he was still able to meet individually with regional leaders during his trip to Singapore.

As Asian leaders met Wednesday, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo spoke out against Burma and the continued detention of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Ms. Arroyo demanded that Aung San Suu Kyi be released.

Ms. Arroyo urged ASEAN leaders to actively promote reforms in Burma.

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