UN envoy to visit China, India for Myanmar talks


New York : UN special envoy for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, plans to visit China and India next week to continue discussion on building up efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar, an EU official said.

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Gambari intends to seek another visit to Myanmar following talks in Beijing and New Delhi, Piero Fassino, the EU special envoy for Myanmar, told reporters at the UN headquarters Friday following lengthy talks with Gambari and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Fassino, an Italian politician, will also be in Asia next week. He said he agreed with the UN officials to keep the situation in Myanmar one of top priorities for the international community in 2008.

“Asian countries can exert a positive influence on Myanmar and the common goal is to maintain stability in Myanmar in order to bring democracy to that country,” he said.

He called for a “realistic and cooperative approach in order to create a climate of trust and dialogue” in Myanmar and to end the crisis in Myanmar, where the military crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in September.

Fassino said the EU will support Gambari’s diplomacy in Myanmar and would adjust its own activities depending on Gambari’s success there. The international community is trying to convince the military junta to open dialogue for national reconciliation and democratisation and to release political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said Gambari had been able to obtain some results during visits to Myanmar last year, and he should be able to continue his campaign for democratic reform in the nation ruled by a military junta for decades.

Fassino said a group of so-called “friends of Myanmar” was created before Christmas, which aims to end the crisis in Myanmar.

The group includes the five UN Security Council permanent members – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain – the EU and key Asian nations like Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.