A UN spokeswoman said, reading Ban's statement, said: "The secretary-general reiterates that the return to the status quo that existed before the crisis is not sustainable and he encourages the government and all relevant parties to redouble their efforts towards achieving national reconciliation, democracy and full respect for human rights."

 

Progress report

 

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"Until the generals' military hardware is crumbled, they won't listen to anyone"

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On Tuesday Gambari is due to brief the UN Security Council on the outcome of his latest visit and his efforts to mediate between the ruling generals and Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's detained opposition leader.

 

Gambari has said his six-day mission brought some progress towards establishing a dialogue between the military government and the country's pro-democracy movement.

 

The visit was his second since the military crushed a wave of anti-government protests in late September.

 

Last week, Aung San Suu Kyi voiced optimism after talks with a government official appointed as intermediary and said she believed it was time for the "healing process" to start.

 

On Friday she met members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party for the first time in more than three years.

 

UN probes deaths

 

According to the government, 10 people died in the crackdown on the September protests, but human rights groups and diplomats based in the country say the toll was likely much higher.

 

The crackdown has sparked international calls
for action against Myanmar's rulers [Reuters]
Hundreds of people are also thought to remain in detention.

 

A UN human rights envoy is in Myanmar investigating the crackdown, and attempting to ascertain the number of people killed or detained.

 

On Tuesday, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN's independent rights investigator, met with the religious affairs and national planning and economic development ministers in the capital Naypyidaw, a Myanmar official said.

 

A day earlier, Pinheiro visited the notorious Insein jail on the outskirts of Yangon.

 

The jail has been used to hold hundreds of political prisoners, but no details have been released of Pinheiro's visit.

 

He is expected to meet on Wednesday the foreign and information ministers and Aung Kyi, the labour minister who is tasked with liaising between Suu Kyi and the military government.

 

As Pinheiro's visit continued, police in Myanmar arrested a prominent labour activist.

 

Su Su Nway was arrested on Tuesday as she distributed leaflets criticising the military government, a source told AFP news agency.

 

"She was arrested this afternoon while she was trying to put some anti-government pamphlets in place," the source, who did not wish to be identified, said.

 

Su Su Nway had been in hiding since leading a protest in Yangon in late August over the rising cost of fuel and basic commodities.