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Burma agrees to UN envoy visit in March

Feb 21, 2008 (AP), Burma will allow UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari to visit the country in early March, Indonesia’s foreign minister said Thursday.

Gambari is currently on a tour of Asian nations seeking their support in helping achieve democracy in military-ruled Burma.

"The Myanmar government has agreed to receive Gambari in the first week of March," Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said before meeting the UN diplomat in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Wirajuda said Burma’s foreign minister had informed him of the decision at a recent meeting with other Southeast Asian ministers. He gave no more details.

Earlier this month, Burma announced it would hold a May referendum on a constitution written under military guidance and multiparty elections by 2010, the first specific dates for steps in an earlier-announced "roadmap to democracy."

The plans have been widely criticized for failing to include any input from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy. As they stand, Aung San Suu Kyi would not be allowed to contest the vote because she once was married to a foreigner.

Wirajuda said Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries "still had hopes" Suu Kyi would be allowed to contest the vote. He gave no more details.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won general elections in 1990 but was not allowed to take power.


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