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12 October 2007

Burma I welcome the UN Security Council’s presidential statement “strongly deploring” the Burmese regime’s use of violence against peaceful demonstrators and emphasising the importance of releasing all political prisoners and detainees. The statement also sends a clear message from the international community to the regime on the imperative for genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties.

I strongly endorse the UN Secretary General’s decision to send his Special Envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, back to the region this weekend for consultations with India, Japan and China and select ASEAN countries, following which he is to return to Burma. Regional countries must send consistent messages to the Burmese regime on the need for genuine reform. I urge the regime to extend Mr Gambari full cooperation. The regime should use Mr Gambari’s visit to open meaningful political dialogue without preconditions.

Australia continues to hold grave fears for the thousands of protesters and pro-democracy supporters still detained. I am shocked to hear of the death in detention of U Win Shwe, a respected member of the National League for Democracy. I repeat Australia’s call for the humane treatment of all political detainees and for their immediate release.

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