Myanmar rejects UN talks proposal

Generals dismiss plan for three-way dialogue involving opposition leader Suu Kyi.

    Gambari has tried to get Myanmar's generals to
    hold talks with Aung San Suu Kyi [UNIC Yangon]
    Gambari is on his second visit to Myanmar in a month in an effort to persuade Myanmar's government to adopt democratic reforms.


    The military government violently put down widespread pro-democracy protests in September, which were led by Buddhist monks.


    Diplomats have put the death toll from the crackdown on the protests far in excess of the government's figure of 10 dead.

    UN letter

    Gambari met Lieutenant-General Thein Sein, Myanmar's prime minister, in the new capital Naypyidaw on Wednesday.

    The UN said in a statement late on Wednesday that Gambari gave Thein Sein a letter from Ban Ki-moon, the UN's secretary-general, to pass on to Than Shwe, the country's senior general.

    Buddhist monks led popular pro-democracy
    protests in Myanmar in September [AFP]

    Ban has already expressed concern that Gambari has not been permitted to visit Than Shwe during his visit.

    "Mr Gambari stressed that a return to the status quo before the crisis would not be sustainable," the UN statement said.

    Gambari will meet Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in Yangon, on Thursday, shortly after meeting senior members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) in Naypyidaw.

    In comments published in the New Light of Myanmar, Kyaw Hsan said the government would not be pressured into making democratic reforms.

    "If you wish to see democracy flourishing in Myanmar, you should try to persuade other nations to co-operate with us in assisting [us with] the task," he said.

    "Here, what we would like to say is that we will welcome positive co-ordination and co-operation for Myanmar affairs, but will never accept any interference that may harm our sovereignty."

    State's 'roadmap'

    State media have indicated the government is only willing to adopt its own seven-stage "roadmap to democracy".

    The roadmap has been criticised by Western governments as a method to keep the military generals in power.

    Gambari appealed on Wednesday for restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners to end, the UN and Kyaw Hsan said.

    However, Myanmar's rulers say that Aung San Suu Kyi must first abandon her support for international sanctions against the government.

    Aung San Suu Kyi led the NLD to victory in a general election in 1990, but Myanmar's generals have not allowed her party to take office.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.