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Myanmar: Meeting a Burmese personality

Updated On: Feb 02, 2009

UN's top diplomat Ibrahim Gambari to Myanmar met Myanmar’s minister in charge of liaising with detained (for almost 19 years) democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 Feb 2009 in an attempt to persuade the military regime in the country to reform.

The previous trip in August 2008 had ended without concrete result. Aung San Suu Kyi herself in fact refused the Nigerian UN diplomat while her party did not place premium on the visit.

This time round, the four-day trip by Gambari aims to have a conversation on points brought up on the last visit. But Gambari seems unable to meet with the secretive head of state Senior General Than Shwe while Aung San herself has not expressed whether she would meet with Gambari.

On 1 Feb 2009 Sunday morning, Gambari met with Information Minister Kyaw Hsan, Foreign Minister Nyan Win in Yangon, relations minister Aung Kyi, the military coordinator for contact with Aung San Suu Kyi (appointment with effect from October 2007), representatives of a commission which organised a referendum on Myanmar's new constitution in May 2008 and the International Committee of the Red Cross and foreign diplomats.

Myanmar has been under pressure from the West after the violent suppression of anti-military demonstrations in September 2007. In January 2008, Aung San Suu Kyi indicated her dissatisfaction with the progress of the dialogue with Aung Kyi.

The Myanmar military nevertheless plans to proceed with its Roadmap to Democracy to hold multi-party elections in 2010 but opponents noted that it does not include Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military regime had already passed a new constitution with 93 per cent approval in a vote held after Cyclone Nargis disaster. Like the Roadmap, opponents claimed that the poll was not free and fair and simply entrenches military rule (in place since 1962).

Sources:

AFP/Channelnewsasia, "UN envoy in Myanmar meets Suu Kyi liaison" dated 01 February 2009 in the Channelnewsasia website [downloaded on 1 Feb 2009], available at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/406181/1/.ht...

McCartan, Brian, "Secret UN deals may entice Myanmar" dated 30 Jan 2009 in the Asia Times website [downloaded on 1 Feb 2009], available at 
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/KA30Ae01.html







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