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Burmese minister blames protests on "opportunists" and outsiders

Oct 2, 2007 (DVB), The Burmese Foreign Minister has blamed outside influences and "political opportunists" for the recent mass demonstrations in Burma.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, U Nyan Win railed against "neo-colonialist" attempts to impose political change on Burma from outside.

He claimed that the initially small protests over fuel price increases had been exploited by "political opportunists" with the support of some powerful countries. He also condemned "disinformation" campaigns run by foreign media outlets in an attempt to undermine the country.

Nyan Win said that the situation in Burma had now returned to normal, and defended the actions of government security forces in countering the protests.

"The security personnel exercised utmost restraint and they did not intervene for nearly a month. However, when the mob became unruly and provocative, they were compelled to declare a curfew. Subsequently, when protesters ignored their warnings, they had to take action to restore the situation," he said.

The Foreign Minister warned that economic sanctions would be "counterproductive" and would impede any progress towards democracy.

"The international community can best help Myanmar by showing greater understanding. They can begin by refraining from measures which would result in adding fuel to the fire," he said.

The Human Rights Council is due to convene in a special session today to discuss the human rights situation in Burma.

Reporting by DVB


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