UN chief of staff meets Myanmar opposition leader

Saturday, November 27, 2010

YANGON - The chief of staff of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Saturday with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was released from seven years of house arrest two week ago.

Vijay Nambiar arrived Saturday morning in military-ruled Myanmar to assess the post-election political climate on a three-day trip.

He briefly met Foreign Minister Nyan Win before holding a 90-minute interview with Suu Kyi at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon.

“The conversation was very good,” Suu Kyi said. “It was a valuable meeting. We heard the views of the UN secretary-general but one meeting is not enough. We need more meetings.”

Nambiar, who is also Ban’s special envoy on Myanmar affairs, was the first senior UN official to meet with Suu Kyi since her release Nov 13.

Ban and Western democracies had been demanding the release of Suu Kyi and 2,100 other political prisoners languishing in Myanmar jails for years.

Her release came a week after Myanmar held a general election for the first time in two decades.

The balloting was dominated by the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party, but the military-staged exercise has been widely criticised by Western democracies as a sham.

Observers said they believe Suu Kyi’s release was designed to deflect international criticism from the fraudulent electoral process and calm public outrage in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi is hoping the UN will pressure the regime to hold a dialogue with her and other opposition groups before lifting economic sanctions.

Her NLD was excluded from the election by regulations imposed by the military shortly before the vote.

Myanmar has been under military dictatorships since 1962. The previous general election of 1990 was won by the NLD, but its elected lawmakers were blocked from assuming office.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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