UN envoy pressed for results in Myanmar talks

Yangon, November 6:

Myanmar’s military junta has summoned foreign diplomats to its new remote capital to meet with the UN envoy attempting to end the country’s political crisis and promote democratic reform, diplomats said today.

The diplomats were asked to meet tomorrow with envoy Ibrahim Gambari in Naypyitaw, where he has been holding talks with Cabinet ministers but has yet to meet with powerful junta leader Senior Gen Than Shwe.

The agenda for the meeting was not known, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of protocol. They added that Gambari was expected to meet recently-appointed Prime Minister Lt Gen Thein Sein beforehand. However, the junta holds political control of the country; the prime minister holds only nominal power.

There had been speculation Gambari would return to Yangon today to meet with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN’s special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, announced today that he has been invited for a visit next week by the country’s military authorities.

Pinheiro, who has been barred by the junta from visiting since 2003, said in a statement he “welcomes” the invitation to visit November 11-15.

The statement, issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, said Pinheiro noted that the invitation “sends a positive indication of the desire of the authorities to cooperate with his mandate” to investigate human rights in Myanmar. Gambari met senior Myanmar officials today as the US pressed for concrete results from his mission aimed at pushing the junta towards democracy.