Laura Bush: Myanmar junta not addressing concerns

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:11pm EST

U.S. first lady Laura Bush (L) meets with UN Special Adviser on Burma Ibrahim Gambari (R) in her East Wing office at the White House in Washington December 17, 2007. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. first lady Laura Bush (L) meets with UN Special Adviser on Burma Ibrahim Gambari (R) in her East Wing office at the White House in Washington December 17, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - First lady Laura Bush, an outspoken critic of Myanmar's military rulers, on Tuesday said the junta had failed to take any meaningful steps to address international concerns on human rights.

Bush said she was briefed a day earlier by U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and learned that Myanmar's military leaders were failing to meet minimal expectations set out by the U.N. Security Council in October.

"The junta has made no meaningful attempt to meet and talk with democratic activists. Instead it has continued to harass and detain them," Bush said in a statement.

"The junta leaders continue to sell the country's natural resources to enrich themselves. While they reject international calls for a democratic transition, they have put Burma in shambles and placed its people in a perilous state," she said using the country's previous name.

Bush and her husband, President George W. Bush, have called for the release of political prisoners including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and they have been highly critical of a crackdown on Buddhist monk-led protests.

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Todd Eastham)

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