U.N. envoy meets with junta general, Suu Kyi

Aye Aye Win,YANGON, Myanmar, AP

A U.N. special envoy met separately on Saturday with the Myanmar junta’s No. 3 general and democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an attempt to kick-start a meaningful dialogue between the two sides to end their 12-year-old political deadlock.

Razali Ismail, who arrived in Myanmar on Friday on a five-day mission, was seen driving into Suu Kyi’s lakeside compound in a three-car convoy. He spent about two hours there.

Earlier, he met with army intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the No. 3 leader in the ruling junta, at the Defense Ministry guest house in Yangon for more than one hour, diplomatic sources said.

Later Saturday, Razali met with the eight central executive committee members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party at the party headquarters, and then with leaders of eight ethnic parties.

Details of the meetings were not available.

The United Nations says Razali’s visit will hopefully add momentum to the Myanmar reconciliation process “so that the two sides can start their substantive dialogue in the near future.”

The army has ruled Myanmar since 1962, and the current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy movement. The junta called elections in 1990 but refused to hand over power when the National League for Democracy party won overwhelmingly.

Instead, it threw hundreds of NLD members in jail and shut down all opposition political activity. Suu Kyi herself spent most of the past decade under house arrest.

Razali, a former Malaysian diplomat and businessman, was instrumental in securing Suu Kyi’s release from her last round of house arrest on May 6.

Also as a result of Razali’s mediation, the military junta has released 297 NLD members and 41 other political prisoners. Another 261 NLD members remain in prison.

This is his eighth visit to Myanmar since being appointed special envoy in April 2000 and the first since Suu Kyi’s release.