- Title: SINGAPORE: U.N. envoy meets with Singapore Prime Minister during his stopover
- Date: 3rd October 2007
- Summary: (BN04) SINGAPORE (OCTOBER 3, 2007) (REUTERS) SINGAPORE PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG WALKING INTO ROOM CLOSE UP OF LEE U.N. ENVOY IBRAHIM GAMBARI WALKING IN TO GREET LEE CLOSE UP OF HAND SHAKE / PAN TO GAMBARI LEE GREETING OTHER DELEGATES GAMBARI SHAKING HANDS WITH SINGAPORE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER GEORGE YEO CAMERAMEN VARIOUS OF LEE AND GAMBARI TALKING
- Embargoed: 18th October 2007 13:00
- Location: Singapore
- Country: Singapore
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA5GOECO9O0G86L5SESR1MKQC7T
- Story Text: U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a trip to Myanmar aimed at ending a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday (October 3) after he flew into Singapore on Tuesday (October 2) en route to New York.
Gambari flew in from Myanmar, where he was visiting for a four-day trip, in an attempt to stop a crackdown on protests against the ruling junta.
He met with Senior General Than Shwe, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but he did not comment about his discussions to reporters.
Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, who had just returned from the U.N. General Assembly session in New York, was also present at the Singapore meeting.
Singapore, current chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Myanmar is a member, said it "was encouraged by the access and cooperation given by the Myanmar government to Mr Gambari".
It also said Loong told Gambari in a meeting that ASEAN, which rarely comments on affairs in member nations, wanted "national reconciliation and a peaceful transition to democracy" in Myanmar.
U.N. sources said Gambari expected to return in early November to Myanmar, whose generals seldom heed outside pressure and rarely grant U.N.
officials permission to visit.
However, there were no indications of how his mission and international pressure might change junta policies.
So far, ASEAN's policy of "constructive engagement" has worked no better than Western sanctions, and the continuing arrests indicate the junta has not been swayed by Gambari.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the United Nations' human rights envoy for Myanmar, said in Geneva the number of those detained was now in the thousands.
Myanmar's junta arrested more people under the cover of darkness on Wednesday despite a crescendo of international outrage during a keenly watched U.N. mission to bring an end to a bloody crackdown on protests.
At least eight truckloads of prisoners were hauled out of downtown Yangon, the former Burma's biggest city and centre of monk-led protests against decades of military rule and deepening economic hardship, witnesses said.
Myanmar, one of Asia's brightest prospects and the world's largest rice exporter when it won independence from Britain in 1948, is now one of the region's poorest countries despite an abundance of timber, gems, oil and natural gas.
It is also a big source of opium, the raw material of heroin, as well as amphetamines, smuggled logs and gems.
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