U.N. envoy fails to meet Suu Kyi in Myanmar

23/08/2008 - 12:27

By Aung Hla Tun

YANGON (Reuters) - A U.N. envoy left Myanmar on Saturdayafter failing to meet detained opposition leader Aung San SuuKyi or coax concessions from the military junta during hissix-day mission, diplomats said.

Ibrahim Gambari, on his sixth visit as part of a U.N. pushfor reforms in the former Burma, extended his trip by one dayin hopes of meeting the Nobel laureate, but it did not happen.

Gambari, who briefed diplomats before leaving the formercapital Yangon, gave no reasons why Suu Kyi did not meet withhim as she had done during past visits.

"He said he raised some points with the government andhoped to return. In terms of concrete outcomes, there was notmuch," said one Western diplomat who declined to be named.

Gambari, who met Prime Minister Thein Sein on Saturday butdid not get an audience with junta leader Senior General ThanShwe during his visit, told the diplomats he had again urgedthe government to release some 2,000 political prisoners andbegin a proper dialogue with the opposition.

But the Nigerian diplomat has had little to show for hisefforts to get the junta to include Suu Kyi and her NationalLeague for Democracy (NLD) in its plans to cede politicalcontrol in a seven-step "roadmap to democracy".

Suu Kyi failed to attend a scheduled meeting with Gambarion Wednesday, prompting speculation she is fed up with thejunta's treatment of the emissary and the lack of meaningfuldialogue between her party and the regime.

A spokesman for the NLD, the party that won a massiveelection landslide in 1990 only to be denied power by themilitary, had expressed surprise at Suu Kyi's no show.

"We just don't know why," Nyan Win said of the NLD leaderwho has been under house arrest for most of the past fiveyears.

"So far as I heard, she is not satisfied with the presentcondition during this visit of Mr. Gambari," Nyan Win saidearlier this week.

After Gambari's departure, Nyan Win told Reuters thislatest mission was "unproductive. Not much different from hislast visit."

Gambari arrived on Monday -- his fourth trip sincepro-democracy protests were crushed last September -- inanother bid to kick-start talks between Suu Kyi and thegenerals after they rammed a new constitution through in areferendum in May.

The charter, which guarantees the army 25 percent of seatsin parliament and control of key ministries, passed with 92percent approval despite being postponed in parts of thecountry due to cyclone Nargis. There was no outside monitoring.

Analysts say the new constitution and the junta's rigidadherence to a seven-step "roadmap" leading to elections in2010 renders Gambari's mission virtually pointless.

Gambari, who did not speak to reporters before flying toSingapore, told the diplomats U.N. Secretary-General BanKi-Moon hoped to visit Myanmar but no date had been set.

(Additional reporting and writing by Darren Schuettler;Editing by Mary Gabriel)