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Suu Kyi meets with UN special envoy

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Latest update : 2008-03-10

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari for a second time in two days, although the Nigerian diplomat has had little to show for his efforts to promote democracy.

Detained Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari for a second time Monday in three days, an official said, as he wrapped up his latest mission to the country.
  
The Nobel peace prize winner, who has spent 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest, spoke with Gambari for about 45 minutes at a military facility here.
  
Just before she arrived, Gambari also met for 45 minutes with the regime's information minister Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, according to the official.
  
Aung San Suu Kyi was earlier seen leaving her lakeside compound in Yangon around midday and travelling the short distance in a convoy, witnesses said.
  
She had already met Saturday with Gambari, who was expected to wrap up his latest mission to the military-ruled nation later Monday.
  
Gambari, who spoke earlier with foreign diplomats, is in Yangon to push the junta to include Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in plans for multi-party elections.
  
However, there has been little sign the regime plans any concessions.
  
In its public statements, the regime has rebuffed every overture made by Gambari, while denying him access to junta leader Than Shwe and stonewalling his efforts to broker a meaningful dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi.
  
The generals have also rejected his offer to provide foreign observers for an upcoming May referendum on a new constitution.
  
Myanmar surprised the world a month ago by announcing the referendum on the charter, which is designed to pave the way for democratic elections in 2010.
  
At the same time, a new law on the referendum sharply restricts the NLD's ability to campaign, outlawing public speeches and leaflets on the text.
  
Myanmar has not held elections since 1990, when Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD won by a landslide in a victory that was never recognised by the junta.
  
The proposed constitution would bar her from new elections on the grounds that she was married to a foreigner, the late Briton Michael Aris.
  
Gambari had hoped to convince the regime to free up the process to include Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD.
  
But its information minister, Kyaw Hsan, has insisted the constitution will not be changed and accused Gambari of being biased in favour of the democracy movement.
  
The hard line has overshadowed Gambari's success in winning a rare meeting Saturday with Aung San Suu Kyi.
  
Gambari was expected to wrap up his mission on Monday. In the morning, he met foreign diplomats for about an hour and then the UN team based in Yangon, officials said.
  
It is his third visit to Myanmar since the security forces waged a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks in September, when the United Nations estimates at least 31 people were killed.
  
His first visit had produced some concessions from the junta, including a heavily conditioned offer by Than Shwe to meet Aung San Suu Kyi face to face, and the appointment of a liaison officer to hold talks with her.
  
But her meeting with Than Shwe never materialised, and her talks with the liaison officer have produced no tangible results.
  
Since then, the government has stuck closely to its plans to create what it calls a "discipline-flourishing democracy," while tightening the screw on the media and continuing to arrest journalists and dissidents.

Date created : 2008-03-10

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