Myanmar invites UN human rights envoy to the country

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Bangkok, Nov 06 (UNI) Myanmar's junta government has invited the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights for a visit to the country even as another top UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is on his second visit there to promote national reconciliation.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, has welcomed the invitation by the authorities to visit Myanmar from November 11 to 15, 2007, a press statement issued by the UN regional information office in Bangkok stated today.

''The Special Rapporteur notes that this invitation sends a positive indication of the desire of the authorities to cooperate with his mandate and the Human Rights Council,'' the statement added.

The current invitation is being viewed as part of a continuing effort by Myanmar's military rulers to project a positive image, following the international outcry over the last month's military repression of peaceful anti-government protests in the former capital Yangon.

State-organised rallies had welcomed Mr Gambari and had called on the UN to ''respect Myanmar''.

His second visit to promote national reconciliation and restoration of democracy in the Southeast Asian nation has been clouded by the government's decision of not renewing accreditation of the top UN official in the country.

In a statement last week, Myanmar's foreign ministry accused UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar Charles Petrie of ''acting beyond his capacity''.

The statement criticised him for his statement to the media that ''not only harms Myanmar's reputation but also the reputation of the United Nations.'' UNI XC SYU GC1710

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