/ 2 February 2009

Suu Kyi meets UN envoy

Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari on Monday during his mission to try to coax her and the ruling military junta towards talks on political reform.

Officials from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said the meeting, that also included four senior party members, lasted more than an hour. It was not known what they discussed.

Hopes of success for Gambari are slim after six previous visits that yielded no results, although he has already done better than his last trip, when he was snubbed by Suu Kyi despite her being held incommunicado under house arrest since May 2003.

Analysts believe Suu Kyi’s refusal to see Gambari in August was to show displeasure at the UN’s apparent acceptance of planned 2010 elections as the basis for future political reform, rather than the 1990 elections she won.

Gambari has also frequently been denied access to ageing junta supremo Than Shwe, who is known to loathe Suu Kyi so much he once stormed out of a meeting with a foreign diplomat when the envoy mentioned her name.

Suu Kyi’s NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990 only to be denied power by the military, which has run the country since a 1962 coup. The NLD believes the 1990 results must be the basis for any future political settlement.

New elections are scheduled for 2010 under the final stages of a seven-step ”roadmap to democracy” drawn up by the generals. A new Constitution guaranteeing the army control of the country was passed in a heavily criticised referendum last year. – Reuters