UN special envoy to arrive in Burma tomorrow

Mar 4, 2008 (DVB), United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari will travel to Burma tomorrow for his third visit since the military regime's brutal crackdown on public demonstrations in September last year.

A UN spokesperson said today that Gambari "hopes to stay as long as necessary and to consult with a broad range of representatives of Myanmar society, including all the groups which he was not able to see during his last visit".

The schedule for the special envoy's visit has not yet been finalised.

During his previous visits, Gambari was able to meet detained National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and a number of senior government officials.

This will be Gambari's first visit to Burma since the government announced on 9 February its plans for a constitutional referendum in May this year followed by a general election in 2010.

The special envoy said on 21 February that the election announcements were "significant", but called for a more inclusive process of national reconciliation.

He also said that he would discuss with the junta reports that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could be barred from running for election due to her marriage to a foreign national.

Gambari has recently completed a tour of the region, holding consultations on Burma with senior officials in China, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.

Reporting by Si√¢n Thomas

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