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China ‘helpful’ in Myanmar crisis, says UN envoy

October 19, 2007

China ‘helpful’ in Myanmar crisis, says UN envoy

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari praised China's "helpful" role in efforts to resolve the Myanmar crisis on Thursday, saying Beijing helped him gain access to the isolated country last month.

The UN diplomat also said he supported engagement with the military government there along with incentives, though he did not elaborate on what these could be.

Myanmar's military rulers violently suppressed anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks across the country last month, sparking a global outcry and triggering a fresh international push for democracy.

China is a major supplier of weapons to Myanmar and has come under harsh criticism for its policy of non-interference in the reclusive nation's affairs.

Speaking in Indonesia on a six-nation tour of Asia aimed at increasing the pressure on Myanmar’s military rulers, Gambari said Beijing had promoted diplomatic efforts to open dialogue between Myanmar's government and the opposition.

"China has been very helpful to the Secretary General and to me personally ... by getting consent of the government of Myanmar (for) my last visit during the crisis," Gambari said.

"The Chinese authorities continue to do more to move the authorities in Myanmar along the path which can only be sustained by dialogue... between the government and opposition."

Speaking after meeting Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, he said the United Nations would "continue to see China as an ally" in dealing with Myanmar.

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