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World reacts to Myanmar crackdown

  • Story Highlights
  • Christopher Hill: "Start thinking about the need for some genuine reconciliation"
  • Ban Ki-moon: "Exercise utmost restraint toward the peaceful demonstrations"
  • Brown: Military junta "should know that the whole world will hold it to account"
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(CNN) -- The following are reactions to the demonstrations being staged across the secretive Asian nation of Myanmar by thousands of Buddhist monks and citizens in protest of the military regime, which seized power in 1962.

Protests have taken place overseas, including one outside the Myanmar embassy in London.

There are multiple reports of between one and five deaths of protesters in clashes with security forces.

The traditional English-language name for the country is Burma. Many in the world still refer to it by that name, despite the military regime's decision in 1989 that the country should be referred to in English as Myanmar, in line with its official name, Union of Myanmar, according to the CIA World Factbook.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Christopher Hill

"I think we all need to agree on the fact that the Burmese government has got to stop thinking that this can be solved by police and military and start thinking about the need for some genuine reconciliation with the broad spectrum of political activists in the country.

"It seems that the people are sending a very clear message to the regime there and that they need to begin a process of genuine dialogue and, above all, refrain from any use of force. Use of force will solve nothing. This is about arriving at political arrangements."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"In response to (the) deteriorating situation in Myanmar, the secretary-general is urgently dispatching his special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, to the region.

"He calls on the senior leadership of the country to cooperate fully with this mission in order to take advantage of the willingness of the United Nations to assist in the process of national reconciliation through dialogue.

"Noting reports of the use of force and of arrests and beatings, the secretary-general calls again on authorities to exercise utmost restraint toward the peaceful demonstrations taking place, as such action can only undermine the prospects for peace, prosperity and stability in Myanmar."

Joint European Union-United States statement

"We are deeply troubled by reports that security forces have fired on and attacked peaceful demonstrators and arrested many Buddhist monks and others. We condemn all violence against peaceful demonstrators and remind the country's leaders of their personal responsibility for their actions.

"We call on the authorities to stop violence and to open a process of dialogue with pro-democracy leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic minorities. We urge China, India, ASEAN and others in the region to use their influence in support of the people of Burma/Myanmar.

"We urge the country's authorities to receive an early visit by the U.N. secretary general's envoy, Ibrahim Gambari. We call on the Security Council to discuss this situation urgently and consider further steps including sanctions."

Myanmar Brig. Gen. Thura Myint Maung

Maung -- who says the monks make up only 2 percent of the country's populace -- has asked senior monks to rein in the protests that have gripped the country. If the protests don't end, he said, the army would be forced to act according to its own regulations.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Speaking at a Labour Party conference on Wednesday, Brown called for a United Nations envoy to be sent to the troubled country to monitor the situation there. He also underscored any trampling of human rights would not be accepted.

"The whole world is now watching Burma, and this illegal and oppressive regime should know that the whole world will hold it to account," he said.

U.S. President George W. Bush

Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly's annual session on Tuesday, Bush said his administration will impose stiffer sanctions against the country's military regime.

"The United States will tighten economic sanctions on the leaders of the regime and their financial backers. We will impose an expanded visa ban on those responsible for the most egregious violations of human rights, as well as their family members," he said.

"We will continue to support the efforts of humanitarian groups working to alleviate suffering in Burma and urge the United Nations and all nations to use their diplomatic and economic leverage to help the Burmese people reclaim their freedom."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

"The regime has reacted brutally to people who were simply protesting peacefully, and I understand that the special representative of the secretary general wants to go to Burma. He should be allowed to go. He should be given a visa immediately. He should be able to see opposition leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, while he is there.

"We really do call on the regime to cease all violence and to lay a framework, lay a foundation for a peaceful discussion so that there can be reconciliation and a return to a more free and democratic life for the people of Burma."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

"I'm deeply concerned about the situation in Burma and Myanmar, and I would like to appeal for the peaceful, spontaneous demonstrations, which are expressing just political and social concerns that they not be repressed by force in any way."

Soe Aung, National Council of the Union of Burma spokesman

"There should be some action -- decisive action -- taken by the international community. At least there should be an urgent meeting of the Security Council level."

Aung also commented that the demonstrators do not seem content to back down.

"The monks are very determined that they are going to go ahead with the demonstrations unless their demands are met," he said.

Those demands include an apology from ministry authorities for the mistreatment of monks in central Myanmar, a reduction in the price of gasoline -- which sparked the first protests in late August -- and the release of protesters detained since demonstrations began, Aung said.


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad

"We are concerned about the situation, particularly now, because we see a worsening of the political situation, and that is affecting the well-being of the people of Burma." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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