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UN Envoy Ends His Burma Trip with Little Progress - 2002-11-16


United Nations envoy Razali Ismail has ended a five-day mission to Burma with little indication he made progress in persuading the military government to start talks with the opposition on restoring democracy.

The Malaysian diplomat left Rangoon today (Saturday) for Singapore without speaking with reporters about the outcome of his visit -- his ninth to the country since being appointed special envoy to Burma in April of 2000.

Prior to his arrival in Rangoon, Mr. Razali said he planned to confront the junta leader, Senior General Than Shwe, over a broken promise to begin a dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

However, the meeting with the general on Thursday lasted only 15 minutes, indicating that it could not have been much more than a courtesy call.

During the week, the diplomat also met Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won 1990 elections by a landslide but has been denied power by the military. A second meeting was scrapped when Mr. Razali canceled a trip to Shan state, where the pro-democracy leader was traveling on political business.

Ahead of his visit, Mr. Razali said he might quit if the junta does not make progress in the talks. However, he has made no official statement on whether he will stay on or walk away from the negotiation process that he brokered two years ago.

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

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