UN envoy presses Myanmar ministers on Suu Kyi

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 12:51

Yangon: A UN envoy met ministers from Myanmar`s junta on Friday to press for a meeting with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and discuss human rights ahead of elections this year.
The talks came as the opposition said a senior Buddhist monk had been jailed for seven years, underscoring the military regime`s crackdown on dissent ahead of the first national polls for two decades.

On the fifth and final day of his trip to Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana flew to the remote capital Naypyidaw for talks but was not meeting the regime`s reclusive supremo, Senior General Than Shwe, officials said.

Quintana met Foreign Minister Nyan Win and was due to see Myanmar`s Home Affairs Minister, Chief Justice, Attorney General and Police Chief, officials said.

"He will not see our senior general," a Myanmar official said on condition of anonymity. Details of Friday`s talks were not immediately available.

Members of Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy said Quintana had told them at a meeting late Thursday that he had asked to meet Suu Kyi but had received no answer yet from the junta.

Quintana has not spoken publicly since arriving in Myanmar but said in a statement a week ago that "I hope that my request to the government to meet with... Aung San Suu Kyi will be granted this time."

He was due to address the media later in the former capital Yangon before flying to the Thai capital Bangkok.

Quintana met on Thursday with Tin Oo, the elderly vice chairman of the NLD, who was freed from house arrest on February 13 after a total of seven years in detention.

"We met for about one hour. We discussed the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the political prisoners," Tin Oo said. Daw is a Burmese-language term of respect.

"We also spoke of our request for a meeting between the Senior General and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and for a meeting between (her) and our central committee members so that we can continue our work for the future," he said.

Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi has been detained for most of the last two decades and her house arrest was extended by 18 months in August after an incident in which a US man swam to her lakeside house.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 12:51

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