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U.N. envoy in second Suu Kyi talks

  • Story Highlights
  • U.N. envoy meets again with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Meeting comes hours after an audience with Myanmar's military leader
  • Talks raise hopes envoy's shuttle diplomacy is producing some results.
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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) -- United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari left Myanmar Tuesday after talks with the country's junta chief and pro-democracy leader aimed at ending a brutal crackdown on widespread protests.


Protesters take to the streets on Tuesday despite a military crackdown in Myanmar.

Gambari met Tuesday with Myanmar's leader Senior General Than Shwe in the country's isolated capital Naypyidaw before returning to main city Yangon for a second visit with detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, the U.N. said.

The talks with Gen. Shwe lasted for over an hour and included other junta leaders, the U.N. said. Gambari is now headed for New York where he will brief U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his mission.

Myanmar's military rulers launched a massive crackdown in Yangon, the former capital, after last week's pro-democracy demonstrations began to attract tens of thousands of protesters.

Unconfirmed reports say hundreds have been killed as troops broke up them demonstrations led by Myanmar's Buddhist monks. Sources inside Myanmar have told CNN that many of Yangon's monasteries are now deserted.

Gambari has been in Myanmar since Saturday in search of a peaceful resolution to the situation. His visits to Suu Kyi were a rarity for the Nobel laureate who has been isolated under house arrest for the last four years.

Suu Kyi has been held in varying degrees of detention for 12 of the past 18 years. Her National League for Democracy won the country's first free elections in 30 years in 1989 but the military junta refused to hand over power.

Over the weekend, as many as 1,000 people were arrested in Yangon. The streets are now controlled by police and soldiers who are checking people for cameras and cell phones, witnesses told CNN.

Myanmar soldiers Tuesday continued to surround the campus of AGTI -- a technology school in Yangon -- where about 2,000 people are staging a hunger strike to protest the crackdown, a pro-democracy source told CNN.

The campus strike, which began Friday, includes students, nuns and monks, the source said.

The United States repeatedly has urged China to pressure Myanmar's military leaders to stop the crackdown on protesters and start talking to pro-democracy leaders, including Suu Kyi.

Myanmar's foreign minister addressed the U.N. General Assembly Monday, blaming the demonstrations on "political opportunists" and declared that "normalcy has now returned to Myanmar."

U Nyan Win defended what he called the government's "seven-step road map" to draft a new constitution and hold elections.

Buddhist monks initiated the demonstrations in August to protest a rise in gasoline prices.

He also said Myanmar's security personnel have "exercised utmost restraint" and "did not intervene for nearly a month."

"The situation would not have deteriorated had the initial protest of a small group of activists against the rise in fuel prices not been exploited by political opportunists," Win said. "They sought to turn the situation in a political showdown aided and abetted by some powerful countries."


China, which considers itself the major power in the region, addressed the situation in Myanmar on Monday. Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said that his government is concerned -- but he added that the Chinese do not feel the situation rose to the level of international concern.

"China has been working on the various parties in the country, focusing its effort on the prevention of the occurrence of large scale bloody events," Baodong said. "We believe this is a domestic issue that does not constitute a threat to the international community." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About MyanmarAung San Suu KyiIbrahim Gambari

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