Top UN envoy in Myanmar meets Suu Kyi


YANGON: Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi met a senior UN official in Yangon on Saturday but said further talks were needed to help the organisation in its Myanmar operations.
After speaking with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, at her home Suu Kyi told reporters that the discussions had been enlightening.
“It was a pleasure to meet Mr Nambiar but I don’t think one meeting is enough,” she said. “I hope this is the first of many meetings because I think we may need many and frequent meetings to sort out all the problems that… the United Nations is dealing with at the moment in Burma,” she said using Myanmar’s former name.
Suu Kyi, who gave no further details of the talks, was freed from seven years of house arrest on November 13, less than a week after an election that critics said was a sham aimed at preserving the rule of the military junta.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner has spoken to a host of diplomats and international figures — including a telephone discussion with Ban — since her release. More than 2,000 political prisoners are believed to be languishing in Myanmar’s prisons and both Ban and Suu Kyi have stressed the need for them to be released.
Nambiar held talks with Myanmar’s foreign minister on Saturday, but a government official has said he will not visit the capital Naypyidaw during his two-day stay in the country. He is also meeting political parties and on Sunday he will talk with the leader of the army-backed party that has claimed victory in the election, according to a government official, who did not want to be named.
The visit follows tension between Myanmar’s regime and the United Nations in the run-up to the election, which Ban called “insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent”. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, has proposed a commission of inquiry into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country.
His latest report to the UN, which Myanmar rejected, highlighted torture deaths in the nation’s prisons, indiscriminate army killings in areas under rebel control and forced labour. Ban visited Myanmar last year but was not allowed to see Suu Kyi, who at the time was locked up and facing charges of breaching the terms of her house arrest.
Suu Kyi, who has been detained for much of the past 20 years, was sidelined during the country’s first election in two decades.