Suu Kyi meeting ends UN envoy's rough Myanmar ride

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YANGON, Nov 8 (Reuters) UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari met detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi today at the end of a six-day visit that made no apparent progress in coaxing the ruling junta towards reform.

After an hour-long meeting, Suu Kyi was returned under armed escort to the lakeside villa to resume the detention which has spanned 12 of her last 18 years. It was not known what she and Gambari discussed.

Gambari, who also met monks and three senior members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, left for the airport to return to UN headquarters in New York. He is to brief members of the Security Council next week.

There was no sign that he would have much positive to say about his visit, the second since at least 10 people, and probably more, were killed in September's ruthless suppression of the biggest pro-democracy protests in nearly 20 years.

The day before he landed, the junta set the tone, summoning the UN's top resident diplomat to its new capital to tell him he would be kicked out for a statement linking August's fuel price protests to the dire state of the economy.

Gambari then failed to secure a follow-up meeting with junta supremo Than Shwe and had a proposal for three-way talks on political reform including himself, Suu Kyi and the military rejected as premature.

The junta then launched into an extraordinary tirade against the United Nations, accusing it of being biased, interfering and subservient to the whims of the United States.

The four-page ''clarification on Myanmar's situation'' carried in state media also showed disdain for anything but the junta's seven-step ''democracy roadmap'', which Western governments have dismissed as a sham to cement the generals' grip on power.

Diplomats, who had seen a sliver of hope in Gambari's two visits since September's crackdown, were stunned.

''There's no doubt in my mind that this regime has no intention of cooperating with Gambari or of starting a process of genuine political dialogue,'' one Yangon-based diplomat said.

''It's beyond them.'' The only hope is that the generals take Gambari's idea of three-way dialogue, rehash it and then represent it as their own initiative, former Australian ambassador Trevor Wilson said.

''They won't accept any proposition like this unless they can demonstrate it's not outside pressure and outside interference,'' Wilson said. ''They very often don't come at something first time around, particularly if it's not something they thought of.'' Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won 1990 elections by a landslide, but was denied power by the military, which has ruled in one form or another since a 1962 coup.

During that time, the economy -- one of Asia's brightest prospects on independence from Britain in 1948 -- has collapsed under the weight of disastrous experiments with home-grown socialism, corruption and, latterly, some Western sanctions.


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