On Friday, a day before Gambari arrived, the military announced it was expelling Charles Petrie, the UN's top diplomat in Myanmar, accusing him of misrepresenting facts in his criticism of the country's deepening economic crisis.

 

'No plans'

 

Myanmar activists living in exile are
keeping up pressure for change [AFP]
The decision has raised speculation of a rift between Myanmar's ruling miliary and the UN, and cast a shadow over Gambari's visit.

 

"So far there are no plans to meet with the senior general yet," a Myanmar government official told the AFP news agency on Monday.

 

A planned meeting between Gambari and Myanmar's information minister had also been pushed back a day, the official said.

 

He is expected to meet Lieutenant General Thein Sein, the country's prime minister, and detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday.

 

On Sunday, Gambari held meetings with Aung Kyi, the labour minister appointed to liaise with Aung San Suu Kyi, and Nyan Win, the foreign minister, the UN said in a statement.


'Initial steps'

 

Gambari and Aung Kyi had discussed preliminary talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in Yangon, the statement said.


"The special adviser expects that these initial steps will lead to early initiation of dialogue aimed at accelerating inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy and the full respect for human rights," the UN said.

 

Meanwhile, the government has apparently eased security outside the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the last 18 years.

 

Diplomats and residents on Monday said only about six riot police were seen outside her house, compared to the hundreds stationed around the clock during last month's crackdown.