NLD unhappy with brief meeting with UN Chief

by Nem Davies
Wednesday, 08 July 2009 22:17

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Leaders of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy on Wednesday said they were dissatisfied with their 10-minute meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on his two-day visit last weekend.

Central Executive Committee (CEC) members of the NLD – Than Tun, Soe Myint, Nyunt Wai, and Hla Pe – were summoned on July 3 to Burma’s new jungle capital Naypyitaw. They were allowed to meet the visiting world body chief for a mere 10 minutes.

“The four CEC members are not at all satisfied with the meeting. They also told Mr. Ban Ki-moon that the time allotted was too short and that they are unable to explain to him whatever they wanted to,” NLD spokesperson Nyan Win told Mizzima.

“About three to four minutes were already gone just saying ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’,” Nyan Win said.

Despite the constraint in time, Nyan Win said, the NLD CEC was able to explain to the UN Chief the four issues the party adhered to – to release political prisoners, to kick-start the national reconciliation process, to recognise the 1990 election results and to amend the 2008 constitution. “Though the CEC members were able to explain their stand to Ban, he had no time to respond or to comment,” Nyan Win said. The meeting was too short and they doubted whether the UN Chief could fully understand their stance and aspirations.

Ban Ki-moon, during his visit, twice requested Snr Gen Than Shwe to allow a meeting with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but Than Shwe reminded him that she is currently under trial and Burmese law does not permit an accused to meet visitors while on trial.

Ban’s failure to persuade Than Shwe has triggered a gamut of speculations most prominently that his trip was unsuccessful, but the UN chief said the fruitfulness of his visit should not be judged by his inability to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said he was able to convey the concerns of the international community directly to the junta.

Ban, following his visit to Burma, is due to brief the UN Security Council on his trip and hold further discussions on what can be done. The UN chief in May 2008 paid his first visit to the Southeast Asian nation, in the wake of the deadly Cyclone Nargis, which left more than 140,000 dead or missing and devastated the lives of over 2.4 million people.

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