Sunday, 05 July 2009 21:42
New Delhi (mizzima) – Burma’s military rulers have once again proved their indifference towards world opinion by rejecting the request of the United Nations Secretary-General to meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The opposition has said it is a major setback for Burma’s reconciliation, while critics say it is a direct insult to the world body and that it is time for the UN to take alternative steps in its approach to dealing with the junta.
On Saturday, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, wound up his second visit to the impoverished Southeast Asian nation expressing deep “disappointment”. Ban, at a press briefing before leaving the country, told reporters that he had twice requested a meeting with detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, but Burma’s military supremo, Senior General Than Shwe, refused to yield.
Before arriving on a two-day visit to the country, Ban stated he would attempt to persuade the generals to free the more than 2,000 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and to immediately engage in a meaningful dialogue with the opposition in order to create conditions conducive for a free and fair election in 2010.
But none of his goals have apparently been achieved, with the generals carefully planning his schedule, arranging meetings with selected political parties and ethnic armed ceasefire groups, who told Ban what the generals wanted him to hear.
“When I met General Than Shwe yesterday and today, I asked to visit Ms. Suu Kyi. I am deeply disappointed that he refused,” Ban told reporters in Rangoon on Saturday before leaving the country.
“I believe the government of Myanmar [Burma] has lost a unique opportunity to show its commitment to a new era of political openness,” he added. Continue reading “Has the Burmese regime grown immune to UN initiatives?”