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Nations Urge Myanmar to End Standoff

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A powerful bloc of countries from four continents Tuesday confronted Myanmar’s foreign minister here and warned him that they expect a speedy resolution in the standoff between security police and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the foreign ministers from Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the European Union also informed Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw that they intend to dispatch the top U.S., Japanese and Australian diplomats in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, to see Suu Kyi as soon as possible. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Their intention, said a senior U.S. official, would be to “see if the international community can be helpful in brokering a solution.”

Myanmar’s leading dissident has spent five days sitting in her white sedan on a bridge outside Yangon after the military government blocked her from seeing party members in an outlying village. She has refused demands that she return to her home in the capital.

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On Tuesday, Suu Kyi for the first time asked police blocking her car for water for herself, two drivers and an aide. The 53-year-old dissident also was visited by her doctors, and an ambulance and Myanmar’s Red Cross are standing by in the event she needs assistance, a government spokesman said.

The government in Yangon has called the protest “a futile way of politicking” and lashed out Tuesday at criticism from Albright, who Monday warned of the danger of a political explosion in Myanmar.

“It is very frustrating for a nation to be hypocritically criticized, unfairly treated and unjustly demonized for not accepting to serve the interest of a foreign government which is detrimental to the interest of the Myanmar people and the security of the nation,” an official statement said.

In Geneva, U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson criticized “what appears to be a developing pattern of restriction of [Suu Kyi’s] rights to freedom of movement.”

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