Friday, 22 August 2008

Gambari May Leave Without Seeing Suu Kyi, Than Shwe

The Irrawaddy News

With one day of his current visit to Burma left, UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari has still not met either opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi or junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe, creating doubts that his mission will bring any tangible results.

Sources within Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said on Wednesday that Gambari was expected to meet her that day, but no encounter took place. It was rumored that Suu Kyi herself had cancelled the meeting because she believed it would produce no result.

Some suggested that Suu Kyi wanted to make it clear to Gambari that she thought he should also meet Than Shwe and urge the junta leader to begin substantive talks.

Gambari met on Thursday with Aung Kyi, the “relations minister” appointed by the military government to liaise between the NLD leader and the regime.

The UN envoy met on Wednesday with members of the NLD central executive committee of Burma’s main opposition group, the National League for Democracy. The NLD complained they had not had sufficient time to discuss all issues with Gambari, and NLD Spokesman Win Naing said the talks had not been encouraging.

NLD member Ohn Kyaing said issues covered had included demands for the release of political prisoners and reconciliation talks between Suu Kyi and the regime.

Win Min, a Burmese political observer in Thailand, said positive results could not be expected from Gambari’s visit unless he met Suu Kyi and the two top generals and “policy makers,” Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye.

The UN said Gambari had so far had 10 separate meetings with political parties, civil society groups, student representatives and successful candidates from the 1990 elections. He had also had talks on socio-economic issues with officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

In other developments, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said the UN Security Council was under “growing pressure” to take action against the Burmese government unless it takes more credible steps toward democracy.

Indonesia and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will meet in Singapore this week and will consider the admission of members of Burma's civilian government-in-exile as Asean observers.

Last weekend, a delegation of exiled Burmese politicians was invited to attend a plenary session of the Indonesian House of Representatives marking the 63rd anniversary of the archipelago's independence.

It was the first time exiled Burmese MP's had attended a parliamentary session of an Asean member state.

They were the official guests of House Speaker Agung Laksono, who said the invitation reflected Indonesia's support for Burma’s democracy movement and a desire to see change in Burma.

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