Singapore urges Myanmar to seek UN mediation

Written by Reuters | Singapore, September 27: | Updated: Sep 27 2007, 16:15pm hrs
Singapore, one of Myanmar's biggest foreign investors, urged the country's military rulers on Thursday to exercise restraint in dealing with anti-government protests and to seek United Nations mediation.

Singapore's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was "deeply troubled" by the violent suppression of demonstrations in Yangon and called on the junta that has run the country for 45 years to seek a peaceful resolution through the world body.

"We hope that the Myanmar authorities and all other parties in Myanmar will appreciate the broader implications of their actions on the region as a whole and act accordingly," the ministry said.

The UN Security Council urged Myanmar on Wednesday to admit a top UN envoy immediately, but China ruled out calls for sanctions or a UN condemnation of the junta's use of force.

Protest leaders in Myanmar, most of them Buddhist monks, said at least five monks had been killed as troops and riot police tried to disperse protesters.

Singapore has close relations with Myanmar's junta, and several of its rulers have sought medical treatment in the wealthy island republic.

The city-state, whose trade with the isolated country last year reached S$1 billion (USD 668 million), urged Myanmar's generals to be mindful of the impact of its actions on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which admitted the country in 1997 amid international criticism.

"The situation in Myanmar affects all ASEAN countries," the ministry added. Singapore is the current chairman of ASEAN.

Junta leader Than Shwe, 74, visited Singapore in January when he was reported to have been treated for intestinal cancer.