UN Envoy’s Visit to Myanmar Sparks Hope

Updated On: Aug 19, 2008

United Nations special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari is visiting Myanmar for five days, starting August 18. He seeks to promote national reconciliation and political reform in the military-ruled country. This is his fourth mission to Myanmar since last September’s violent crackdown by the ruling junta on anti-government protestors. It is expected that Gambari will be meeting the joint UN-Myanmar-Southeast Asian panel which is coordinating aid for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

It is not known whether his agenda will include a chance to meet senior representatives of the junta or Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy. However, the democratic opposition party hopes that Gambari’s visit will restart the UN-brokered talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Junta’s labour minister Aung Kyi. The talks began in October 2007 but were stalled in January after five meetings.

Along with Gambari’s arrival in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has been allowed a rare meeting with her lawyer as well as a medical check-up. A spokesman for the National League for Democracy described this to be “significant” as the democratic leader under house arrest had not spoken to her lawyer for four years prior to this month.

The Associated Press, Aug 18, 2008, U.N. envoy arrives in Myanmar in bid to promote democratic reform

The Associated Press, Aug 17, 2008 Myanmar opposition hopes UN envoy's visit will spur talks

Agence France-Presse, Aug 18, 2008, Suu Kyi meets lawyer as UN envoy arrives in Myanmar: spokesman

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