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UN envoy extends Myanmar mission, makes little progress


August 23, 2008

UN envoy extends Myanmar mission, makes little progress
The United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari held a second meeting with top leaders of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party Friday, but again failed to meet her or senior military leaders, reported Singapore’s Channel News Asia.

Five leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) met for 90 minutes with Gambari, following a 20-minute meeting on Wednesday, party spokesman Nyan Win told reporters.

He declined to reveal the substance of their discussions, saying only that they had agreed to talk again before Gambari's departure, which is now set for Saturday.

"We haven't set a time, but we will meet again as soon as possible," he said.

So far, Gambari's only meetings with government officials have been at the ministerial level. Top military officials have ignored him, just as they shunned the envoy during his last mission here in March.

Nyan Win said the party did not know why Gambari had not met with Aung San Suu Kyi, after a scheduled meeting on Wednesday failed to take place.

But analysts in neighbouring Thailand said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has been confined to her home for most of the last 19 years, could be refusing to meet him as a show of her frustration with the military's failure to follow through on promised talks.

"She is somehow putting diplomatic pressure on Gambari. If Gambari cannot see Aung San Suu Kyi, his trip is meaningless," Myanmar analyst Win Min said.

Two UN officials spent 30 minutes in a car outside of Aung San Suu Kyi's house early Friday, witnesses said. The woman known here simply as The Lady did not appear to respond to them, they said.

Gambari's mission is meant to revive talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the military, but the military has shown no sign of willingness to embrace his mediation. The generals have not even invited him to their remote capital in Naypyidaw.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. The NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the military has never allowed them to take office.

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