Tuesday, October 2, 2007

UN Envoy Meets With Myanmar Head Honcho

I'd also like to meet with the Myanmar leader. Alone. With a taser and handcuffs and a baton. Then deliver him to a jail where he and is gang of drug dealing, gun running, human trafficking, monk murdering cohorts belong.

U.N. Envoy Meets With Myanmar Leader

A U.N. envoy met with Myanmar's military leader Tuesday in a bid to end the country's political crisis, as the junta's foreign minister defended a deadly crackdown on democracy advocates that has provoked global revulsion.

Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N.'s special envoy to Myanmar, met with Senior Gen. Than Shwe in the junta's remote new capital, Naypyitaw, said a foreign diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing protocol. No details of the meeting were available.

Security forces lightened their presence in Yangon, the country's main city, which remained quiet after troops and police brutally quelled mass protests last week. Dissident groups say up to 200 protesters were slain, compared to the regime's report of 10 deaths, and 6,000 detained.

Gambari has been in the country since Saturday with the express purpose of seeing Than Shwe about the violence. The leader had avoided him until Tuesday.

Than Shwe doesn't normally bother with the usual diplomatic protocol and is not an easy man to meet with. In previous sparring with the United Nations and other international bodies over human rights abuses, the regime has repeatedly snubbed envoys and ignored diplomatic overtures.

Instead of the meeting Gambari sought Monday, he was sent to a remote northern town for an academic conference on relations between the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, diplomats reported, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The town of Lashio, where the conference was held, is 240 miles north of Naypyitaw, the secure, isolated city carved out of the jungle where Than Shwe moved the capital in 2005.

U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq earlier said Gambari would urge the junta "to cease the repression of peaceful protest, release detainees, and move more credibly and inclusively in the direction of democratic reform, human rights and national reconciliation."

State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the U.S. wanted to see Gambari convey a clear message on behalf of the international community "about the need for Burma's leaders to engage in a real and serious political dialogue with all relative parties."