Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The United Nations special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari arrived in the military ruled Southeast Asian country on Saturday for the seventh time to push for political reconciliation.
This is his seventh visit to the country since his appointment in 2006. But it is still not clear whom he will be meeting.
According to an AFP report, the special envoy will remain in Burma's former capital Rangoon throughout his four-day visit and is likely to meet the junta's ministers including the information minister.
During his last two visits in August and March 2008, Gambari was not invited to Burma's new jungle capital, Naypyitaw, where junta supremo Snr. Gen. Than Shwe is staying. Neither could he meet detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Gambari has been facing a volley of criticism from Burmese opposition groups as well as international observers for failing to persuade the Burmese junta to implement a meaningful dialogue to kick-start a process of national reconciliation.
Opposition groups in Rangoon including the Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy have said they expect little from this visit by the Nigerian diplomat.
During his last visit in August, detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused to meet Gambari and blocked his attempts to meet her, leaving many observers to begin doubting the success of Gambari's mission.
However, a statement issued by the Secretary General's spokesperson on Friday said, Ban has asked his Special Adviser to visit Burma to continue his consultations with the government and other relevant parties to implement the good offices mandate entrusted to the Secretary-General by the General Assembly.
"He looks forward to meaningful discussions with all concerned on all the points raised during his last visit," the statement added.
Gambari's mission includes securing the release of political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi, and to ensure the participation of opposition groups in the process of political reforms.