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Top UN Official in Burma to Leave This Week


A top U.N. official in Burma will leave the country this week, after Burma's military government refused to renew his mandate.

A U.N. source said on Monday Charles Petrie, the U.N. Development Program coordinator for Burma has to leave the country Tuesday.

Early last month, diplomats said the Burmese government was preparing to expel Petrie following critical remarks he made about the country's deepening poverty and its brutal September crackdown of protests led by Buddhist monks.

Thousands of people were detained in the crackdown. U.N. officials have since been trying to get Burma's military leaders to open a dialogue with the opposition.

As officials met today to work on a long-awaited new constitution for Burma, military leaders ruled out any role for detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in that process.

Burma's military leaders have said they will eventually hold a referendum on the constitution, and allow free elections. No timetable has been set for those steps.

Human rights groups say the new constitution would secure the military's role in politics and block prominent pro-democracy opposition politicians from participating in elections.

Burma has been ruled by a military government since 1962.


Information for this news report is provided by afp, ap and abc.

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