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Junta refuses UN mediation

Nov 7, 2007 (DVB), The Burmese government has rejected the suggestion of a tripartite meeting with opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, according to state-run media.

In an extensive piece published in the New Light of Myanmar and broadcast on state television, minister for information brigadier-general Kyaw Hsan criticised the UN's response to the crisis in Burma.

"[Gambari's] previous visit did not bear fruit as we had expected. The presidential statement of UNSC, the further sanctions of US and EU, the sanction of Australia , sowed suspicions of your efforts among some of our people," he said.

Calling for constructive engagement rather than sanctions, Kyaw Hsan said that the relaxation of sanctions could help the Burmese government alleviate poverty in the country.

"We regret that you have not mentioned any criticism that such sanctions are not appropriate and they should be relaxed," he said.

"Instead of blaming and suggesting that a poverty alleviation commission for Myanmar only should be formed, you should play a leading role in organizing and persuading others to relieve and lift sanctions."

Kyaw Hsan also said that the government would not bow to pressure from powerful foreign countries and opposition groups.

"If you bring along the instructions of the leaders of a big power and demands of internal and external anti-government groups, it will in no way contribute towards the seeking of solution to Myanmar's affairs," he said.

Gambari has been in Burma since 3 November and has so far met a number of senior government officials in Naypyidaw, but he has not yet been able to hold talks with junta leader senior general Than Shwe or any opposition groups.

Press reports have said that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is disappointed with the special envoy's lack of progress in his current trip to Burma.

Reporting by DVB

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