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Gambari says no tangible outcome from Burma visit

Mar 19, 2008 (DVB), United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari told the UN Security Council yesterday he was disappointed his recent visit to Burma had delivered "no immediate tangible outcome".

But the special envoy said the success of his visit should be judged within the context of broader efforts over the past two years, which had resulted in dialogue being opened up with the authorities and a channel of communication being established between the regime and detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

He noted the government's plans for a constitutional referendum in May followed by multiparty elections in 2010 for the first time in 20 years, but said it was important that the political conditions were in place to allow full and free participation.

Gambari told the Council he had expressed the UN's concerns to the Burmese regime, and offered technical support for the referendum and independent monitoring to increase the credibility of the electoral process.

He affirmed that the UN would "continue to pursue dialogue and engagement so as to strengthen cooperation through tangible results".

Burma's representative U Kyaw Tint Swe responded to Gambari's briefing, saying that the country had made "significant strides in its seven-step political road map".

He also stressed that the situation in Burma did not pose a threat to international peace and security and did not warrant any action by the Security Council.

Gambari also met UN General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim on Monday, who urged "serious engagement and strong commitment from all parties" to a "credible and inclusive" national reconciliation process.

Gambari's latest visit to Burma, from 6 to 10 March, was his third since September last year.

Reporting by Si√¢n Thomas


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