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UN envoy meets Myanmar's Suu Kyi, junta leader

State media has reported little of Ibrahim Gambari's visit at a time when the military-ruled regime is under scrutiny by the UNSC.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 19:05 IST

Senior UN official Ibrahim Gambari met detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling junta's top leader on Saturday during a visit to the military-run Southeast Asian nation.

Gambari's meeting with Suu Kyi, which followed an audience with junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe, lasted about an hour at a government guest house in Yangon.

"It is over now," said a Home Ministry source, without giving further details.

There was no immediate comment from UN officials.

On his last visit in May, Gambari was the first outsider in more than two years to meet the Nobel peace laureate, who has been in prison or under house arrest since May 2003, with her telephone disconnected and few visitors allowed by the military.

Amid tight security, a three-car convoy arrived at Gambari's guest house, a short drive from Suu Kyi's lakeside villa. The cars with blacked-out windows left about one hour later.

Earlier, the Nigerian envoy flew to the new jungle capital, Nay Pyi Taw, for talks with Than Shwe and other senior generals. Details of their discussions are not known.

State media has reported little of Gambari's visit at a time when the regime is under scrutiny by the UN Security Council, which held its first official session on Myanmar in September.

Washington has said it would press for a Council resolution to put pressure on a regime it calls an "outpost of tyranny".

During his 4-day visit, Gambari has pressed for the release of political prisoners, better access for humanitarian aid, and an "all-inclusive and transparent" roadmap to democracy.

"Mr Gambari stressed that there can be no development without peace, no durable peace without sustainable development and neither peace nor development without democratisation and respect for human rights," a statement by the UN office in Yangon said on Friday.

Gambari got a first-hand look at the constitution-drafting National Convention on Friday, the first stage in a 7-step roadmap to democracy announced in 2003 by the junta, which has refused to set a timetable.

The NLD is boycotting the Convention, which critics dismiss as a smokescreen for the military to entrench more than four decades of rule.

Gambari has also pushed for better aid access to Myanmar, where activists say 500,000 internal refugees in eastern jungle conflict zones are cut off from international aid.

The US Campaign for Burma says more than 3,000 villages have been burned or relocated in a government offensive launched last year in eastern Myanmar, where civil war has raged for decades.

"The world knows what is happening in Darfur and they know what took place in Rwanda," Campaign leader Cristina Moon said in a statement.

"But the destruction of 3,000 villages in eastern Burma is perhaps the world's least-known major disaster."

First Published: Nov 11, 2006 19:05 IST