UN chief's reputation 'shattered' by Burma visit

July 6, 2009 (DVB), The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit to Burma was "even worse" than predicted, according to a senior member of Burma's main opposition party who lamented a fruitless trip.

Ban Ki-moon left Burma on Saturday after a two-day visit in which he seemingly achieved none of the concessions he had sought in the face of unwavering military generals.

The UN chief was under enormous pressure to achieve results, which would have included a meeting with imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, although he said on Saturday his failure to meet with Suu Kyi "should not be the benchmark of success or failure" of the trip.

A senior member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) said yesterday that the Burmese junta was seeing Ban Ki-moon's failure to make any headway in Burma as an achievement for them.

"Maybe the junta is seeing this as a triumph and if they really do, there is a chance the election planned in 2010 could be held earlier," said Win Tin.

"I said earlier that it would be embarrassing for Mr Ban Ki-moon to leave Burma empty handed but now it turned out even worse in reality; Ban left with his reputation shattered."

Four representatives from the NLD's Central Executive Committee – Than Htun, Hla Pe, Nyunt Wei and Soe Myint – were allowed to meet with Ban.

The NLD spokesperson, Nyan Win, said that groups due to meet with Ban were given two minutes each for discussion with him, although following complaints this was extended to 15 minutes.

Nyo Ohn Myint, foreign affairs coordinator of the National League for Democracy-Liberated Areas, said that the UN is now likely to increase pressure on the junta given the poor result from Ban's trip.

"I see the reconciliation effort in Burma is now at a greater distance following the junta's refusal to accept Ban's assistance," he said, adding that the visit showed "how stubborn the [junta] is".

"The UN has always been hesitant to take action when it comes to Burma but I assume there will be more pressure on Burma in the future as the junta has dumped Ban's suggestions and opinions."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw and Yee May Aung

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