Friday, February 6, 2009

UN calls for Myanmar talks

(Straits Times) -UNITED NATIONS - UN chief Ban Ki-moon is appealing to Myanmar's military rulers and opposition to resume early, substantive negotiations without preconditions, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Michele Montas said the secretary general issued the appeal after being briefed in New Delhi by his special adviser Ibrahim Gambari on the outcome of his four-day visit to Myanmar which ended on Tuesday.

She added that Mr Ban, who was in the Indian capital on the last leg of a two-week swing through Europe, Africa and Asia, looked forward 'to building on the Mr Gambari visit to further foster national dialogue and reconciliation' in Myanmar.

Mr Ban 'calls on the government and opposition to resume substantive dialogue without preconditions and without further delay,' Ms Montas said.

Mr Gambari left Myanmar on Tuesday after a visit aimed at nudging the regime toward dialogue with the democratic opposition, though he failed to secure a meeting with the top junta leadership.

Opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for most the past 19 years, met Mr Gambari on Monday. She had refused to see him on his previous visit to Myanmar in August.

Less than a day after Mr Gambari left the military-ruled country, Myanmar state media accused Aung San Suu Kyi of being unrealistic, leaving little room for the diplomatic maneuvering the UN envoy is seeking. -- AFP

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