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UN's Myanmar envoy wraps up Indonesia visit

Indonesia has urged Myanmar to take tangible steps towards democracy and make good on its promises to reform.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 12:46 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

UN rights envoy on Myanmar Paolo Serghio Pinheiro was wrapping up a two-day visit to Indonesia on Tuesday, ahead of a planned visit by the president to the military-ruled nation.

Pinheiro, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, met with Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, former foreign minister Ali Alatas as well as parliamentarians, UN official Jonathan Gilman told the agency.

Alatas last made a visit to Myanmar in 2005 as special envoy of the secretary general.

"It's consultations, not a fact-finding mission, to get an idea of what the government is thinking on this issue, given that the president is going to Myanmar," Gilman said.

He added that he was here for a two-way exchange.

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced in January his planned visit to Myanmar as part of a trip also taking in Cambodia and Brunei beginning this month.

Foreign affairs ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Indonesia has urged Myanmar to take tangible steps towards democracy and make good on its promises to reform, with Yudhoyono expected to recount to the junta how Indonesia underwent its transition from authoritarianism under former autocratic president Suharto to democracy.

Pinheiro met with detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her lakeside residence in Yangon in November 2003 but has since been denied entry to Myanmar by the military government, which has ruled since 1962.

Aung San Suu Kyi's party National League for Democracy won 1990 elections in a landslide but the junta has never allowed it to govern.

In his latest report to the UN, Pinheiro said Myanmar had made no transition towards democracy during his six-year mandate and that the humanitarian situation there was worsening.

Pinheiro, who was also visiting Indonesia in his role as an author of a special report on child violence, was due to leave Indonesia later Tuesday.

Yudhoyono's visit would come as Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar is trying to agree a date to visit Myanmar.

Syed Hamid is supposed to visit as an envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to check on its progress towards democracy. ASEAN signalled its impatience with member Myanmar at its annual meeting in December.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 12:46 IST