The United States is asking the U.N. Security Council to pressure Burma to ease repression and release political prisoners. VOA's correspondent at the U.N. Peter Heinlein reports the request faces stiff opposition from two other powerful Council members.

U.S. diplomats circulated a draft Security Council resolution Tuesday describing the deteriorating conditions in Burma as a serious risk to regional security.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the draft calls on Burma's military rulers to begin a promised transition to democracy.

"This resolution calls upon the Burmese regime to act to stop the violence against ethic minorities and begin a legitimate process of political reform, which includes freeing of political prisoners," he said.

The resolution specifically calls for the release of democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the past 15 years in detention.

Mc Cormack says the draft would pressures Burma to be more receptive to United Nations diplomatic overtures.

"The resolution is also designed to support the actions of the United Nations, which has been deeply involved in sending a special representative to Burma, who recently reported back," he added. 

U.S. diplomats say they are pushing for a vote on the resolution by the end of the week. But prospects for approval are dim.

China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters Monday he does not think the Security Council is the place to address the Burma issue.  Another veto-wielding envoy, Russia's Vitaly Churkin, who holds the Security Council presidency this month, reminded reporters Tuesday Moscow is still unhappy Burma was placed on the Council's permanent agenda as a security threat last year.

"We voted against putting it on the agenda," he said.

U.S. diplomats privately admit that while they are pushing for adoption of the resolution by the end of the week, they expect Russian and Chinese opposition to delay a vote.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is also personally urging Burma's military government to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. His spokeswoman Monday welcomed the release of nearly 3,000 detainees, including 40 political prisoners, as part of an amnesty celebrating Burma's independence from Britain.