Agam's Gecko
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Burmese protest in Bangkok
Burmese people demonstrate outside the Burmese embassy in Bangkok on Sunday.
Photo: Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

he envoy of the UN Secretary General returned to Rangoon on Sunday after meeting with military junta officials in their secluded jungle capital Nay Pyi Daw. Mr. Ibrahim Gambari was whisked to the State Guest House where he had a meeting with the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which lasted about 90 minutes.

Mizzima News reports:
(Burmese Standard Time)

3:30 p.m.

Gambari meets Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

In a surprise development the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari today met detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.

The visiting envoy met the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate for ninety minutes at the State guest house in Rangoon.

The UN envoy, who led a three-member delegation, met the Burmese opposition leader on his return from Nay Pyi Taw after a meeting with Burma's military supremo Senior General Than Shwe.

Than Shwe, the hard-line junta leader promised the UN envoy that the Road Map would be finalized within one and-a-half years, sources said.

No invitation has been sent yet to the Central Excutive Committee of Aung San Suu Kyi's party the National League for Democracy and there is little chance that it will have a meeting with the UN envoy.

" I think the news can be heard when he reaches Bangkok or Singapore like his previous trip,"said Nyan Win, NLD spokesperson.

A media black-out has been imposed on the UN envoy's visit to Burma where an anti-regime protest rages, though the tension has significantly declined today.

The UN envoy had proceeded to the isolated regime's fortified capital Nay Pyi Taw yesterday after which the military junta allowed him to meet the opposition leader.

Speculation is rife that the No.2 man in the junta, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, who has been identified by the opposition to be one general who doesn't want to shoot protesters met Aung San Suu Kyi a few days earlier. However, many Burmese are still not ready to accept that this is true.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources claimed that Russia wants to see a compromise in Burma but the main obstacle remains the head of junta Senior General Than Shwe.

" Russia views Than Shwe as a problem," said a diplomatic source.

The military junta has come up with a condition and wants Aung San Suu Kyi should speak out to stop the anti-government demonstrations, sources added.
There have been as yet no reports on public demonstrations in Rangoon today. Unconfirmed reports via Burmese bloggers have described telephone messages from people in Rangoon as saying the security forces have been cremating bodies.

The monks in Mandalay are still under lockdown, chanting the Metta Sutta for loving kindness from behind the barricades. Citizens in Mandalay were reported by Mizzima to be gearing up for protests at midday. People are waiting anxiously for results from Mr. Gambari's visit. A peaceful march is planned for Mandalay this evening.

About a thousand Burmese exiles demonstrated in front of the Burmese embassy this morning.

Reuters reports that Mr. Gambari has not yet met with SPADCO chairman Than Shwe. While he was in Nay Pyi Daw the envoy met with the acting Prime Minister, the Culture Minister and the Information Minister, Reuters said.

UPDATE: (7:45 pm Bangkok) AP reports Gambari has returned to Nay Pyi Daw this evening.
But an Asian diplomat said that Gambari, who came back to Yangon on Sunday for talks with Suu Kyi, flew back to Naypyitaw late in the evening, raising hopes that he would still be able to meet the two key officials in the government. It was also possible that he was carrying a message from Suu Kyi to the leadership.

Thousands of troops locked down Myanmar's largest cities Sunday. Scores of people were arrested overnight, further weakening the flagging uprising that began Aug. 19 with protests against fuel price increases.
How could he have flown back to Nay Pyi Daw "late in the evening" when it's only 7:15 pm there now?

UPDATE II: (9:15 pm Bangkok) AP has reported on the contents of Democratic Voice of Burma's video footage shot earlier today in Rangoon. (same link as above)
The government says 10 people were killed, but independent sources say the number is far higher. A video shot Sunday by a dissident group, Democratic Voice of Burma, showed a monk, covered in bruises, floating face down in a Yangon river. It was not clear how long the body had been in the river.
DVB TV has been beaming in the video footage (I'm watching it right now) from events on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as historical documentary material from the period of Burma's independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha movement in India, and current supportive public demonstrations in Oslo, Norway where the broadcaster is based.

UPDATE III: (9:50 pm Bangkok) Irrawaddy News, with its website now fully restored after the cyber attack yesterday, reports that at least three journalists have disappeared or been arrested.
Rangoon; Sunday afternoon—At least three local journalists have disappeared or have been arrested in recent days, while one other journalist was confirmed arrested on Friday. Min Zaw, who works for the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, was taken from his home on Friday. The Associated Press quoted authorities saying that his mobile phone was confiscated but he was allowed to bring a change of clothing as well as medicine. The 56-year-old journalist suffers from diabetes and hypertension. According to AP, he was to be held temporarily for questioning. Min Zaw was reporting on the ongoing demonstrations against the military regime but was not involved in any political activity.

The three other journalists: Kyaw Zeya Tun, 23, from The Voice journal; Nay Lin Aung, 20, from the 7 Day News journal; and one woman journalist from Weekly Eleven News journal have disappeared, according to one editor in Rangoon. The editor added that it was believed that they were arrested in connection with the demonstrations.


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