Gambari’s mission to Burma ‘disappointing’: opposition
Gambari’s mission to Burma ‘disappointing’: opposition
Wednesday, 20 August 2008 21:56
New Delhi – Leaders of Burma’s main opposition party –the National League for Democracy – on Wednesday met visiting United Nations special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, but said the meeting was ‘disappointing’.
The NLD leaders’ statement came after five members of the NLD Central Executive Committee led by party chairman Aung Shwe on Wednesday afternoon met Gambari at the government guest house for a brief 20 minutes.
Nyan Win, the NLD spokesperson, who was not at the meeting but was assigned to speak on behalf of those attending, said the meeting started at 3 p.m. (local time) and lasted for 20 minutes.
“It is disappointing. We want things implemented in keeping with the resolutions passed by the United Nations. We want to kick start national reconciliation,” Nyan Win told Mizzima over telephone.
The Nigerian diplomat, who arrived in Rangoon on Monday, has so far met Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win, Information Minister Brig Gen. Kyaw San and toured cyclone-hit areas in Rangoon division.
On Wednesday, he also met pro-junta student group the 88 generation students (Union of Myanmar) led by Aye Lwin.
Nyan Win said Gambari is drifting away from his main mission by meeting groups that the junta wants him to meet and not finding ways and means to meet key political players.
“He [Gamabri] just met social groups like 88 generation students (Union of Myanmar). These groups are all pro-junta groups,” Nyan Win said.
“We are disappointed to see that he [Gambari] is drifting away from his main mission of facilitating national reconciliation. If we look at where he is going and who he is meeting, it is hardly encouraging,” Nyan Win added.
During the meeting with the NLD leaders, Gambari said he will continue to call for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Win Tin and other political prisoners, and call for direct talks between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime.
Gambari also said that he will call on the Burmese government to implement economic reforms and urge it to allow him to open a liaison office in Rangoon so that he can maintain constant communication with the Burmese government.
But Nyan Win said, while Gambari told party leaders he will urge the government to conduct free and fair election in 2010, he failed to give his views on the results of the 1990 elections, when asked by the NLD leaders.
“When he talked about free and fair elections in 2010, we asked him about his views on the results of the 1990 elections. But he did not answer. He also declined to answer when we asked him what his mission was. And when we asked him whether he had met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, he said no, he is still trying,” Nyan Win said of the discussion between the NLD leaders and Gambari.
The meeting was attended by NLD chairman Aung Shwe, Secretary U Lwin, Thakhin Soe Myint, Than Tun and Nyunt Wai.
During his last visit in March, while Gambari was allowed to meet detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, he was barred from meeting junta supremo Snr. Gen. Than Shwe.
Gambari is currently visiting Burma for the fourth time since military rulers resorted to violence when it cracked down on peaceful protesters in September 2007.
UN envoy Gambari meets NLD leaders
Democratic Voice of Burma
Aug 20, 2008 (DVB)�National League for Democracy leaders told the United Nations special envoy in a meeting today that he should not discuss the 2010 elections, an NLD spokesperson said.
UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met U Aung Shwe, U Lwin, U Nyunt Wei, U Than Htun and U Soe Myint at 3pm today for a 20-minute discussion.
NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said Gambari had set out his objectives for his visit as pushing for the release of all political prisoners, negotiating for a direct dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and regime leaders and improving the country�s failing economic system.
Gambari also told the NLD leaders he planned to appoint a communications officer based in Burma to facilitate contact when the special envoy is out of the country himself.
The special envoy added that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon would be visiting Burma again in December and this time would focus on political issues, in contrast with the humanitarian focus of his previous trip.
He also said the UN wanted international observers present for the 2010 elections.
Nyan Win said the special envoy did not answer the NLD leaders� questions on his opinion of the 1990 elections and the purpose of his current mission.
The party leaders were unhappy that Gambari had raised the issue of the 2010 elections, suggesting that he would support the elections despite the reports of vote-rigging and intimidation that marred the constitutional referendum.
“The NLD still refuses to accept the constitution which was approved by a referendum where there were several issues that still need to be talked about � we told Mr Gambari he should not discuss the 2010 election in these circumstances,” Nyan Win said.
Nyan Win said the NLD supported Gambari�s stated aims, but could not support the junta�s plans for the 2010 election.
“We have nothing to protest against his five-step plan for this trip � we actually like it,� Nyan Win said.
�But we were forced to have such a discussion only because he started talking about the 2010 elections. This leads us to think he agrees with the upcoming elections.�
The NLD spokesperson added that the party understood the difficulties the UN faced but called for action rather than rhetoric.
�We explained to him that we understood the limits of how far the UN can get involved in the situation and that there was nothing they can do about the two big powers,” Nyan Win said.
“We told him to stick to the purpose of his mission and that we will try very hard to keep understanding the UN,” he said.
“The pro-democracy forces in Burma, including the NLD, have told the UN special envoy their opinions during his previous trips, and now the next step is to actually put the ideas into action,� he continued.
�But now, we are only seeing more talking rather than action.”
Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw
Gambari Fails to Meet with Suu Kyi
By SAW YAN NAING
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The United Nations special envoy to Burma failed to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday as scheduled, according to Rangoon sources.
No reason was given for the failure, and there was speculation he could meet with her before his trip ends on Friday.
Rumors spread that Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader, was seriously ill. However, a National League of Democracy (NLD) official said she was well.
Meanwhile, five members of the central executive committee of Burma’s main opposition group, the National League for Democracy, and Gambari discussed issues including the release of political prisoners and reconciliation talks between Suu Kyi and the military regime, said Ohn Kyaing, an NLD member.
NLD executive committee members who met with Gambari included Chairman Aung Shwe, Secretary U Lwin and spokesperson Nyan Win. The meeting started at 3 p.m. and lasted about 20 minutes.
During the meeting, the UN envoy said he will try to obtain the release of political prisoners and the formation of genuine talks between Suu Kyi and regime leaders.
The UN envoy said he had already discussed several issues—including the release of political prisoners and a genuine dialogue with Suu Kyi—with Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan in their meeting on Tuesday.
Gambari said he had not received any response so far for the government, said Ohn Kyaing.
The envoy also discussed the junta’s scheduled general election in 2010 with NLD leaders, telling them he urged the regime to conduct open and fair elections.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is scheduled to visit Burma again in December to discuss the election and other issues with the military regime.
The envoy also told NLD members he was scheduled to meet a wide range of parties during his visit this week, said Farhan Haq, a UN spokesperson, including parties he has met on previous occasions.
During past trips, the UN envoy met Burmese generals including Snr-Gen Than Shwe, leaders of the NLD, Suu Kyi and junta-backed ethnic leaders.
Meanwhile, Burmese dissidents in exile have sent a petition to Gambari urging him to make efforts to move the junta toward a genuine democratic transition that goes beyond the scheduled 2010 elections.
They also asked Gambari to urge the regime to allow newspapers and other media to report news and information without censorship in order to educate the people about Burmese politics and the rest of the world.