01/18/2008, 00.00
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UN against Myanmar: progress too “slow”

The Security Council criticises the Burmese governments lack of commitment to resolving the crises, in the wake of September’s repression of Buddhist monks. Special envoy Gambari asks to visit Myanmar at the end of the month, but for the generals it is out of the question until mid April.

New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Progress in resolving the Burmese crises is too “slow”. Concern was expressed yesterday by the UN Security Council, which invited the junta to open greater dialogue with the opposition in an official statement.  First among them, Noble laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held under house arrest for years.

The regime in former Burma was heavily criticised last year for its violent repression of anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks in late September.  The official death toll stands at 11.  Thousands of arrests and hundreds of disappeared people have led diplomats and human rights organisations to the conclusion that the actual number of people killed by the army is far greater.

Yesterday following a meeting with the Security Council, the UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari made public his request to the Burmese government to be allowed visit the country within the month. The generals have however responded that the diplomat will not be allowed travel to the nation until “mid April”.  According to the United Nations progress in achieving goals set out last October is too slow, among those goals: “sincere” dialogue with democratic leaders; the abolition of Suu Kyi’s house arrest, and the release of opposition leaders currently in prison.

On January 11th Aung San Suu Kyi had a fourth meeting with the Labour Minister, Aung Kyi, appointed by the regime in Autumn to hold talks with Suu Kyi. Some observers of international diplomacy see these meetings as a sign that “dialogue is possible” with the generals.  But in reality they are merely superficial, face-saving moves.  Experts in Burma note that “these are not talks, they are just meetings” aimed at stemming international pressure.

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See also
ASEAN says no to Gambari to please Myanmar
Gambari’s third visit to Myanmar. Another failure?
Fourth day of protests, monks call for UN intervention
Mandalay, student activist sentenced to 104 years in prison
Generals end curfew, not repression


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