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Stop arrests, United Nations tells Junta

world Updated: Oct 16, 2007 10:32 IST

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari told Myanmar on Monday to stop arresting dissidents even as the Junta vowed to plough on with its “roadmap to democracy” regardless of widespread international criticism.

“These actions must stop at once,” Gambari told reporters after a one-hour meeting with Thailand Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram.

Gambari, in Bangkok at the start of a regional tour to drum up support for a coordinated front against the Junta, said actions spoke louder than words — and that the continued arrests and intimidation of activists were “extremely disturbing”.

“I'm more concerned about what they’re doing, not what they’re saying,” Gambari said. “The UN calls on the Myanmar government to release all political detainees, including those arrested during the demonstrations.”

“We will go ahead. We will not deviate from our path,” the New Light of Myanmar said in a commentary on the generals’ seven-point masterplan, unveiled in 2003, to chart a course towards civilian government after 45 years of army rule.

“Those who sincerely want to hold hands with us are welcome,” the paper continued in uncompromising tone. “We will get rid of the barriers and obstacles on the way.”

After Thailand, Gambari heads for Malaysia, India and China — all of them trading partners of Myanmar so far opposed to any sanctions, the tactic preferred by Western governments.