The European Union's special envoy for Burma, Piero Fassino, has called on nations around the world to keep Burma at the top of their agenda.

Speaking after talks Friday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his envoy in Burma, Fassino said he plans to visit Asian countries soon to drum up support for coordinated pressure on the ruling generals.

Fassino said the common goal of Asian countries should be to maintain stability in Burma in order to secure a political dialogue between the military rulers and the opposition.

Also Friday, U.S. first lady Laura Bush issued a statement criticizing Burma's military leadership on the country's 60th anniversary of independence from British colonial rule.

"Instead of celebrating their freedom, the Burmese people live in fear, poverty and oppression under General Than Shwe and his military regime," said Mrs. Bush. 

Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, also issued a statement Friday saying that the Burmese people's aspirations for democracy, stability and prosperity have been frustrated.

A speech by General Than Shwe was read during a flag-raising ceremony in the new capital city of Naypyidaw Friday.  In the speech, the general promoted what he called a "discipline-flourishing democratic state" based on a seven-stage road map.

Critics have denounced the road map as a sham, because it keeps the military in formal power and bars the National League for Democracy, the opposition party led by democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi.