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US special envoy might be more effective than UN envoy: NLD

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The first US special envoy to Burma may be able to support change in Burma more effectively than the UN special envoy to Burma, says a National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson.

Aung San Suu Kyi and UN Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar after a two-hour meeting at her home in Rangoon on Thursday. Photo: MizzimaOhn Kyaing made the remark after a two-hour meeting between NLD leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and UN special envoy to Burma Vijay Nambiar at Suu Kyi’s home in Rangoon. Nambiar was on a three-day visit to Burma.

‘The US is a strong democratic country. I think it is the mother of democracy. So, the US special envoy to Burma can work more freely and actively than the UN special envoy’, Ohn Kyaing told Mizzima. ‘The US  can help us more than the UN because it does not need to negotiate with other countries’.

US President Barack Obama recently nominated Derek Mitchell, who has valuable professional experience with regard to Asia, as the first US special representative and policy coordinator for Burma. The post must be approved by the US Senate. Mitchell is currently a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense.

Nambiar ‘s visit was the first by a UN high-ranking official under Burma’s new government led by President Thein Sein. Before his visit, it was expected that Thein Sein would meet with Nambiar  but the meeting failed to materialize.  On  Wednesday, Nambiar met with Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin and Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Ko Ko among some others from the new Burmese government.

On Thursday, he met with NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi and central committee members Nyan Win and Han Thar Myint. Later, he met with Suu Kyi again, NLD Vce Chairman Tin Oo and central committee members Win Tin, Than Tun, Hla Pe, Nyunt Wai, Nyan Win, Ohn Kyaing, Han Thar Myint, May Win Myint and Win Myint.

After the meetings, the UN special envoy told journalists that he looked positively at developments in Burma under the new government.

Suu Kyi said that her meeting with the envoy was a frank discussion, and she would await the government’s actions following his visit. In the meeting, NLD leaders told the UN envoy to urge Burma’s new government to release all political prisoners and to help the NLD survive as a legal political party.

NLD central executive committee member Win Tin told VOA Burmese Service that the UN should quickly  make the appointment of a full-time representative as the UN special envoy to Burma. Currently, Nambiar holds a temporary appointment.

Meanwhile, a human rights watch group said that the UN must be cautious and not allow itself  to be used by  Burma’s new government as a way to increase its credibility. Before Nambiar was appointed, Razali Ismail and Ibharim Gambari were the first and second UN special envoys to Burma respectively. When Gambari visited Burma as a special envoy the last time, Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest, refused to meet him.

Currently, Nambiar is also a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  He departed Burma on Friday.

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 May 2011 22:12 )  

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