UN mediator urges early talks between Myanmar junta and Suu Kyi

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Bangkok, Nov 7 (UNI) Mr Ibrahim Gambari, the UN mediator in Myanmar has advised the country's military rulers to free all political detainees and start talks with pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi immediately to speed up national reconciliation.

Mr Gambari, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser to Myanmar, offered the advice to senior members of the military regime in the country's new capital Nay Pyi Taw, a UN press statement from Yangon said today.

On his second mission to the country since the crackdown by state security forces on street protesters in Yangon in September, Mr Gambari is scheduled to meet Ms Suu Kyi this week.

The UN mediator held ''very frank and extensive exchanges'' with Information Minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan, Culture Minister Major-General Khin Aung Myint, Foreign Minister U Nyan Win and Labour Minister U Aung Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, according to the UN statement.

''At the request of his counterparts, Mr Gambari offered advice on ways by which Myanmar is expected to make concrete progress in the areas of concern to the international community,'' the statement added.

He also met separately with Religious Affairs Minister Brigadier-General Thura Myint Maung ''to discuss the Government response to the participation of monks in the recent demonstrations.'' Mr Gambari emphasised the need for talks between the military junta and Ms Suu Kyi ''to start without delay as an indispensable part of any process of national reconciliation.'' Lifting all restrictions on Ms Suu Kyi and other political detainees are ''necessary steps to that end,'' the UN mediator said.

Myanmar's newly set up Constitutional Drafting Commission was told by the UN envoy that it was important to widen participation in the drafting of a new constitution to take into account the views of all sections of the country.

In another meeting with Minister for Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha, Mr Gambari said the Myanmar government should hold consultations soon with the UN system in the country on UN-government cooperation to address ''humanitarian and socio-economic challenges facing the country''.


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