Opposition groups seek meeting with envoy

Nov 6, 2007 (DVB), Representatives of two opposition groups have urged United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to ensure they are involved in national reconciliation efforts.

National League for Democracy spokesperson Nyan Win said the party had not been told if a meeting would take place.

"We have heard nothing on [Gambari’s] schedule to meet with the NLD. But we have been making the necessary preparations from our side since before he arrived in the country," Nyan Win said.

"As the NLD is the main opposition group that should be included in talks for the national reconciliation, we think Mr. Gambari should meet with our party’s leaders to discuss the situation. And we are hoping this will happen."

Nyan Win previously told DVB that he was hopeful Gambari would push for a meeting with the party's executive committee.

Naing Aung Ma Ngae of the New Mon State party stressed the importance of the special envoy including ethnic minority organisations in his discussions.

"We would like to urge Mr. Gambari to conduct independent meetings with ethnic groups including political parties and armed-groups," he said.

"There have been a lot of times in our history where confidence-building between the government and the ethnic groups fails at the halfway point. We fear Mr. Gambari’s plan might end the same way."

Gambari arrived in Burma on 3 November and has so far met government ministers and the United Nations resident coordinator, but he has yet to meet any opposition representatives on this trip.

On his last visit to the country from 29 September to 2 October, Gambari met detained NLD member Daw Aung San Suu Kyi twice but was denied access to other NLD members despite his requests.

On this trip, the special envoy has said he hopes to meet a wide range of people, including those he was not able to speak to on his last visit.

He is due to leave Burma on 8 November, but has said he will stay "as long as necessary to complete his mission".

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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