A senior United Nations official arrived in Myanmar on Saturday to meet with both government leaders and recently released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Nyan Win, lawyer and spokesman for Suu Kyi's now disbanded National League for Democracy, said visiting U.N. special representative Vijay Nambiar was to meet Suu Kyi on Saturday along with senior members of the league.
Nambiar, chief of staff for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, will also hold talks with the foreign minister and secretary-general of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, according to diplomatic sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing diplomatic protocol. Since her release Nov. 13 from more than seven years under house arrest, Suu Kyi has been busy meeting diplomats, U.N. representatives, politicians and international agencies.
The 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has made it clear she plans to pursue her goal of a democratic Myanmar but has been careful not to verbally challenge the ruling junta. "Daw Aung San Suu Kyi believes that the visit could be conducive to Myanmar's political development," Nyan Win said.
"Although the United Nations has its limitations in implementing its tasks, we respect the role of the U.N." This is Nambiar's first visit to Myanmar since he took over the position of former special envoy Ibrahim Gambari who last visited the military-ruled country in June 2009.
A long line of U.N. officials, including Ban, have attempted to broker talks between the opposing sides, but despite numerous claims of "breakthroughs" have failed to bring them together.
The ruling generals and their longtime archrival have had no contact since Suu Kyi was freed from detention. She has called for face-to-face reconciliation talks with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe. Suu Kyi's political party swept the 1990 elections but was never allowed to take power.
The pro-regime party overwhelmingly won this month's elections amid widespread claims the balloting was rigged. The junta regards Suu Kyi and her nonviolent struggle for democracy as a threat to its power. She has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.