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UN Special Envoy to Burma Meets Top Military Brass and Oppostion Leader - 2002-11-12


The special United Nations envoy to Burma has begun a visit to Rangoon -- after warning he may quit if the ruling military government fails to take steps soon toward democracy.

Razali Ismail held separate talks today (Tuesday) with the chief of Burma's military intelligence, General Khin Nyunt, and with democratic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Details of those meetings were not given. Mr. Razali also has requested a meeting with military leader General Than Shwe.

The UN envoy's five-day visit comes amid concern that Burma's military government has not taken steps to improve relations with the opposition or enact democratic reforms.

Before heading to Burma, Mr. Razali told reporters he may quit his post if substantive talks between the Burmese military and opposition leaders do not start soon. The European Union also issued a statement Tuesday urging Burma's government to take advantage of Mr. Razali's visit by opening political dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, who heads the National League for Democracy party.

The Malaysian diplomat brokered historic talks in late 2000 between the Burmese military and the opposition leader. Those talks have been stalled since Aung San Suu Kyi was released from 19 months of house arrest in May.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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