11/07/2007, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Myanmar junta resists, Gambari’s mission on brink of failure

Strongman Than Shwe refuses to meet UN envoy. Military refuses three-way meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi and UN representative. National League for Democracy wants to see Gambari. Crackdown continues.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – The United Nation's strategy in dealing with Myanmar’s junta appears to be going nowhere, with its special envoy unable to meet with Senior General Than Shwe. A military spokesman also excluded any meeting between pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the generals and the UN envoy.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters yesterday in New York, "I am concerned at this time about the lack of progress” of the mission.

This is Gambari’s second visit since the bloody crackdown in September against the population and the country’s monks who protested against rising prices and the lack of democracy.

The ruling junta has also complained about the lack of progress. Information Minister Kyaw San explained the military’s resistance, laying blame for the little progress in stopping attacks and sanctions by the international community on the United Nations.

In the junta’s view Aung San Suu Kyi has also little to show because she remains in favour of sanctions against Myanmar, a sign of her lack of patriotism.

In Yangon, the former capital, members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, have demanded a meeting with Gambari.

According to the League’s spokesperson Nyan Win, the NLD should participate in the national reconciliation dialogue since it is the main opposition party and the winner in the 1990 elections, which the junta never recognised.

The only positive sign in an otherwise bleak picture is the junta’s agreement with the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, for a visit by him to the country between November 11 and 15.

The United Nations has said that Gambari is set to stay indefinitely in Myanmar to see his mission through.

Meanwhile the military and police continue their crackdown against those who took part or supported monk-led demonstrations in September and October.

Nine Muslims from Yangon who backed the protests in September have been arrested and charged with inciting state unrest, family members said.

They were arrested for giving out bottles of drinking water to protesting monks.

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