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But activist Peter Limbin says the calm does not mean surrender. Limbin is a member of the Burmese parliament that was democratically elected in 1990 but never allowed to take office. He believes the military overplayed its hand this time when it fired on the country's much-loved and respected monks.
Many of the refugees are political activists who say people in Rangoon are protesting quietly by calling and writing to members of the military, appealing to them to switch sides.
Than Htut of the National Council of the Union of Burma, an umbrella group of anti-government organizations, says groups in Burma already have more mass actions planned.
YANGON (Reuters) - Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party dismissed a Myanmar junta offer of talks as unreal on Friday, while
China said the ruthless suppression of pro-democracy protests did not require international action.
Senior General Than Shwe, who outraged the world by sending in soldiers to crush peaceful monk-led demonstrations, was asking Suu Kyi to abandon the campaign for democracy which has kept her in detention for 12 of the last 18 years, a spokesman said.
"They are asking her to confess to offences that she has not committed," said Nyan Win, spokesman for the Nobel peace laureate's National League for Democracy (NLD), whose landslide election victory in 1990 was ignored by the generals.
Gambari was to present his report to the council on Friday, but veto-wielding China said it opposed international action.
"There are problems there in Myanmar, but these problems still, we believe, are basically internal," China's U.N. Ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters.
"No international-imposed solution can help the situation," Wang said. "We want the government there to handle this issue."
French giant Total will not exit Burma's play but is not looking to make new investments in the country, company boss Christophe de Margerie said in an interview published today.
Speaking to French daily newspaper Le Monde, de Margerie said: "Investing in this country today would be a provocation.
The interview comes after a number of non-governmental organisations said the presence of energy giants in Burma helped prop up the military junta and its hold over the country.
"We have a dialogue with non-governmental organisations when they accept it (the dialogue), we listen to them but they do not decide what the group does. Total will not withdraw (from Burma)," de Margerie said.
Asked about Iran and whether there was any pressure from the US on Total to pull out of the country, de Margerie said: "Very strong (pressure). But I don't have any from France."
Last week's brutal crackdown on protests in Myanmar will not stop the growing movement for reform in the pariah state, pro-democracy leaders in exile said Friday.
The unprecedented Buddhist monk-led protests ignited a fire among long-suffering Burmese that will not be easily extinguished, but the international community must pressure the military regime to avoid further bloodshed, the activists told a Bangkok press conference.
'Many people are saying the Burmese revolt is over, but that is not true,' said Naing Aung of the Forum for Democracy in Burma. 'A movement that brought out 1 million people willing to defy bullets cannot easily disappear.'
'We have been suffering and dying and crying without the world knowing about it, but now the people of Burma are uniting, and we're saying: 'no more killing, no more beating.''
Relief Web reports that Australia will provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Burma, whose condition has been made more difficult by the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests.
We will contribute $3 million to the World Food Programme’s emergency appeal for Burma, to help deliver food to vulnerable people across the country.
The World Food Programme assists up to 1.6 million people in Burma – over half of them women.
Australia will also give funds to CARE Australia ($800,000) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ($500,000) to support basic health, water and sanitation for vulnerable people along the south-east as well as northern borders of Burma.
Ausrialia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Australia is one of a few donors providing humanitarian assistance inside Burma. He added that the military regime does not have access to the aid.
Yesterday, a petition to China and the UN Security Council to stop the brutal crackdown on peaceful Burmese protesters has been delivered by campaign promoters Avaaz.org to the world in a full page ad in the Financial Times worldwide -- but the ad was rejected by other newspapers like the South China Morning Post and the Singapore Straits Times
"The message is an invitation to China to do the right thing in Burma, not an attack" say the petitioners "yet even that seemed too much for media that fear Chinese reprisals. The worldwide outcry to save Burma's peaceful monks and protesters is one more sign of how the world is getting closer, feeling increasingly responsible to each other, and for each other as human beings. We're bringing a voice of humanity to this desperate situation, and we must not be silenced".
izzima and Red Capitalism on Tuesday (October 2, 2007) inadvertently reported that the Burmese Prime Minister Lt-Gen Soe Win died at Rangoon's Mingalardon hospital at about 5 p.m. (local time), based on information provided by sources close to the Burmese premier and the military establishment.
However, on careful follow up, family sources of Soe Win told Mizzima that the premier is not dead and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of Mingalardon hospital in Rangoon. He was reportedly, visited by three senior leaders of the Burmese military junta including Snr. Gen. Than Shwe on Tuesday.
"He is still in the Mingalardon hospital. But doctors said his condition is critical," the family source told Mizzima.
However, the Mingalardon hospital authorities refused to answer Mizzima's queries.
Twenty former world leaders, including Lionel Jospin of France and Mary Robinson of Ireland today urged China to use its influence to press Myanmar's junta to hold talks with the opposition.
The former heads of state and government made the call in a letter addressed to Chinese President Hu Jintao, handed over by Norway's former prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik to China's ambassador in Oslo.
On Friday, one week after the junta's violent crackdown on massive anti-government demonstrations in Yangon, Aung San Suu Kyi's party said she would consider "in a positive light" a heavily conditioned offer to meet junta leader Than Shwe.
China is seen as the junta's main ally.
In their letter, the 20 former leaders encouraged Beijing to support international calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the past 18 years under house arrest, as well as facilitate a dialogue between the parties.
They also urged China to support a United Nations Security Council resolution on an immediate arms embargo for Myanmar.
Among the other signatories were former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and former presidents of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, and the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel.
A Myanmar dissident has called Suu Kyi's backing of sanctions a mistake.
'Her position is: the people have to be patient and suffer a bit longer. But how long do they have to put up with this?' the writer told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The boycott only played into the hands of the generals, he added. The economy might be controlled by them and their beneficiaries, but the people were still benefiting.
'Every waiter and every chambermaid are happy about a job at a tourist hotel,' he said.
Exil groups, meanwhile, are convinced that international pressure on the regime is working.
'If you follow the Burmese media, all of which are state organs, you can see that they always react to what the US, the EU and the United Nations say,' U Maung Maung of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) said in Bangkok.
'They do care about international opinion, and it's important to put them under pressure,' he added.
Having been kept in complete isolation, and cut off from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, it is hard to comprehend how Suu Kyi could have been calling for confrontation and 'utter devastation' of the regime over the past four years
The real test of Strength
The heights of brutality
Cornered but unbeaten—the true leader
“We will deal with the protests in a correct manner”—Junta official
Gambari bridging the gap
Myanmar's ambassador to South Africa Ohn Thwin agreed to answer some of the questions put to him by the Financial Mail. Below a summary of the interview
Who or what is behind the demonstrations in Myanmar?
They are mainly members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which has steadfastly pursued confrontation against the government. The government had to raise the price of fuel, and this was exploited by the NLD to mount a political attack against it. The NLD instigated riots and unrest and used the pretext of rising commodity prices to destabilise the country.
Why is your government shooting peaceful protesters?
Unfortunately I cannot answer that as I can only present the big picture based on guidelines of the government in Yangon.
Use of force against peaceful demonstrators by Myanmar's military junta is 'abhorrent and unacceptable,' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday after receiving a report of findings by his special envoy to that country.
'While I am relieved to hear of reports that some military forces have been withdrawn and that some restrictions were eased, the overall situation still remains a serious concern, especially with regard to the unknown predicament of the large number of individuals who were arrested without due process,' Ban told a public meeting of the UN Security Council.
He urged the Myanmar government to take 'bold actions' to advance democracy and the respect of human rights.
He urged the 15-nation council to remain united in dealing with the situation in Myanmar.
Local sources have released reports about ongoing repression in Burma.
Mizzima reports that even street vendors were not spared. They were asked to pay 4k-6k Kyat (local currency) according to the type of food that they were selling. They were also asked to sign documents stating that they would not talk to foreign media. Near Sule area, SPDC supports were going around in cars with the pictures of protestors and announcing that they would capture anyone who let those protestants to hide in their houses.
Yesterday there were reports that in many places such as Hlaing and Sule, soldiers stopped cars which they found suspicious. Accrding to the same account people were detained and sent to police station. Even when people were able to show identity documents, they were still forced to pay soldiers in order not to be arrested.
Republican White House hopeful John McCain on Thursday said he wanted Myanmar expelled from a regional group of Asian nations, called the country's leadership ``thugs'' and decried China's inaction on its neighbor.
"My friends, we should kick the Burmese out of ASEAN,'' McCain said, referring to 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The naticountry's leadership "thugs''on's crackdown on protesters, including monks, has led to at least nine deaths and hundreds of arrests.
"We should impose the most severe economic sanctions and penalties on them. We should treat them as the pariah nation they are,'' McCain said as he wrapped up a three-day swing through this early voting state. "I'm disappointed in the U.N. and I'm disappointed that the Chinese are blocking action in the United Nations against them.''
McCain said he refuses to call the nation Myanmar because "the thugs that are running country changed the name of it years ago, so I insist on calling it Burma.''
Tear gas and a volley of bullets brought their peaceful protest to a bloody end. Cowering in a Rangoon alley, three holy men decided to flee for their lives. Geoffrey York tells the remarkable story of how they dared to protest for those living on rice and water, and their perilous secret journey to Thailand
First came the tear gas. The crowd began running — and then came the bullets.
"I didn't know where to run," says Vida, a 48-year-old monk. "I was running for my life."
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari said Friday he is "cautiously encouraged" that Myanmar's military ruler is prepared to hold talks with pro- democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under certain conditions and called for a meeting as soon as possible.
Addressing the U.N. Security Council on his four-day trip to Myanmar following the government's crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, Gambari said "this is an hour of historic opportunity for Myanmar."
He said he was "cautiously encouraged" by the government's announcement Thursday that military ruler, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, would meet Suu Kyi " although with certain conditions." They include giving up her calls for confronting the government and for imposing sanctions against it, Myanmar state media said.
Myanmar admitted on state television Friday that security forces last week raided 18 Buddhist monasteries and arrested more than 700 people but said only 109 monks remained in custody.
"Altogether the security forces raided and searched 18 monasteries," said Hla Soe, director of the General Administration Department of the Home Affairs Ministry on the Myanmar state television evening news.
He added that "109 monks and nine men stay under investigation" in custody.
The United States said on Friday it would propose a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Myanmar if the government there does not "respond constructively" to international concern about repression of pro-democracy protests.
"If the Burmese government does not take appropriate steps ... the United States is prepared to introduce a resolution in the Security Council imposing sanctions," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told the Security Council.
"We must all be prepared to consider measures such as arms embargoes," Khalilzad said, urging Myanmar's neighbours to exert the maximum pressure in the meantime to get the military government there to cooperate with U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari's efforts to promote dialogue.