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UN to hold talks with Myanmar on democracy

Over the past several years Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been pushing the Government to move towards democratic rule by releasing all detainees.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 12:25 IST

The United Nations will hold a high-level discussion with the Myanmar Government this week to find ways for the South Asian nation to move in the direction of "all-inclusive" democracy and human rights.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari will begin a three-day visit to the country tomorrow which will include meetings with senior Government officials, members of civil society and representatives of political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The talks will be the first high-level interaction between the UN and Myanmar in more than two years.

"The Secretary-General views this visit as an overdue and potentially important opportunity to assess developments in the country firsthand and to see what more can be done, including by the United Nations, to help Myanmar move in the direction of all-inclusive democracy," Chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

Gambari will convey a clear message that Myanmar's prospects for improved relations with the international community will depend on tangible progress in restoring democratic freedoms and full respect for human rights,he said.

Over the past several years Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been pushing the Government to move towards democratic rule by releasing all detainees, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest.

Asked whether Gambari would meet with Suu Kyi, the spokesman said a meeting with her has been requested.

"The Secretary-General has consistently urged her release from detention, and Gambari will certainly reinforce that message while in Myanmar," Dujarric added.

First Published: May 17, 2006 12:25 IST