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Dialogue is the key: India, China, Russia

The three countries at the same time oppose any fresh sanctions on Myanmar, reports Amit Baruah.
Hindustan Times | By Amit Baruah, Harbin (china)
UPDATED ON OCT 25, 2007 03:12 AM IST

India, China and Russia have opposed fresh western sanctions on Myanmar, but supported efforts by the UN for dialogue with the junta in troubled nation.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said “political reforms and national reconciliation” should be expedited and must involve “all stakeholders” in Myanmar.

Addressing a joint news conference after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, Mukherjee said Myanmarese authorities should be “encouraged to engage in dialogue” and efforts being made by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari should be taken to their “logical conclusion”. “There should not be any sanctions at this stage,” Mukherjee said.

Jiechi said the situation in Myanmar was “calming down” and ultimately, the issue had to be resolved by the Myanmar government and its people. “The countries concerned (a reference to the US and other western powers) should play a helping role rather than applying sanctions,” he added.

Lavrov said more sanctions would only aggravate the situation in Myanmar. On terrorism, the three ministers stressed on “zero tolerance”. Mukherjee added that the Taliban should not be “allowed to take charge of the area in any circumstances”. The three reiterated that their cooperation was not directed against “any other country or organisation”. Lavrov also clarified that they were not setting up any military alliance.

Mukherjee said there was “no question” of India participating in US’s plans to set up a missile defence system. He added that the matter did not come up for discussion at the third trilateral on Wednesday. The foreign ministers agreed to set up a “consultation mechanism” at an official level for regional and international issues. They sought cooperation at the economic level.

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