UN envoy Gambari meets NLD leaders

Aug 20, 2008 (DVB), National League for Democracy leaders told the United Nations special envoy in a meeting today that he should not discuss the 2010 elections, an NLD spokesperson said.

UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met U Aung Shwe, U Lwin, U Nyunt Wei, U Than Htun and U Soe Myint at 3pm today for a 20-minute discussion.

NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said Gambari had set out his objectives for his visit as pushing for the release of all political prisoners, negotiating for a direct dialogue between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and regime leaders and improving the country's failing economic system.

Gambari also told the NLD leaders he planned to appoint a communications officer based in Burma to facilitate contact when the special envoy is out of the country himself.

The special envoy added that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon would be visiting Burma again in December and this time would focus on political issues, in contrast with the humanitarian focus of his previous trip.

He also said the UN wanted international observers present for the 2010 elections.

Nyan Win said the special envoy did not answer the NLD leaders' questions on his opinion of the 1990 elections and the purpose of his current mission.

The party leaders were unhappy that Gambari had raised the issue of the 2010 elections, suggesting that he would support the elections despite the reports of vote-rigging and intimidation that marred the constitutional referendum.

"The NLD still refuses to accept the constitution which was approved by a referendum where there were several issues that still need to be talked about , we told Mr Gambari he should not discuss the 2010 election in these circumstances," Nyan Win said.

Nyan Win said the NLD supported Gambari's stated aims, but could not support the junta's plans for the 2010 election.

"We have nothing to protest against his five-step plan for this trip , we actually like it," Nyan Win said.

"But we were forced to have such a discussion only because he started talking about the 2010 elections. This leads us to think he agrees with the upcoming elections."

The NLD spokesperson added that the party understood the difficulties the UN faced but called for action rather than rhetoric.

"We explained to him that we understood the limits of how far the UN can get involved in the situation and that there was nothing they can do about the two big powers," Nyan Win said.

"We told him to stick to the purpose of his mission and that we will try very hard to keep understanding the UN," he said.

"The pro-democracy forces in Burma, including the NLD, have told the UN special envoy their opinions during his previous trips, and now the next step is to actually put the ideas into action," he continued.

"But now, we are only seeing more talking rather than action."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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