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UN envoy responds to NLD letter

Jan 29, 2009 (DVB), The National League for Democracy has received a response from United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari to its letter regarding the release of political prisoners and the need for inclusive political reform.

NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said the party had sent a letter to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in September last year and received the response from Gambari about two weeks ago.

"In our letter, we expressed our concern about the two main objectives we are trying to achieve; to free all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and to bring about political reform in which all parties and ethnic groups can participate," Nyan Win said.

"Mr Gambari said in his letter that the UN shared our concerns."

The letter did not mention the special envoy's planned trip to Burma on 31 January or the 2010 elections, which the NLD has said they will not discuss.

Dr Thaung Tun of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma said he did not have high expectations of Gambari's upcoming visit.

"On the question of whether the SPDC will follow the steps suggested by Mr. Gambari, we are now seeing more arrests and long prison sentences on political dissidents," Dr Thaung Tun said.

"Mr Gambari should draw up plans prior to his visit to Burma to decide who he should be seeing and how much time he will spend there," he advised.

"He should also put in effort for direct meeting with top leaders of the NLD and also general Than Shwe on the SPDC side," he said.

"At the very least, we would expect him to hear the opinions of the NLD and the SPDC by the end of his trip. Apart from that, we can’t expect anything much."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw


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