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A recent visit to Myanmar by the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy, Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, exemplified the continued mixed signals sent by the junta-led government.
In his second visit since September, Mr. Gambari arrived with the backing of Western nations and in the wake of the recent tightening of sanctions by both the EU and U.S.
Mr. Gambari received sharp criticism from Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, Myanmar’s Information Minister, who stated the envoy’s “previous visit did not bear fruit as we had expected.”
The general then condemned the sanctions imposed by other nations, telling Mr. Gambari to “understand that no other government can do better than us in such a tight-rope situation,” blaming the slow economic growth of the nation on the sanctions themselves.
Military leaders emphatically refused Mr. Gambari’s request to participate in three-way talks including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming that such an event was premature. However, only days after Mr. Gambari left the nation, top-level officials did meet with Dr. Suu Kyi—excluding the UN as a facilitator.
Further complicating the visit, Charles Petrie, the UN diplomat to Myanmar since 2003, was ordered to leave the nation just before Mr. Gambari arrived. Mr. Petrie, who plans to leave Myanmar by the end of November, has been vocal in detailing conditions in the nation and the failings of its government.