Razali seeks new attempt to broker Myanmar talks

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 22 Apr 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: United Nations envoy to Myanmar Tan Sri Razali Ismail wants to return to Yangon for another try at brokering talks between the military government and the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi. 

The veteran Malaysian diplomat said he was now waiting for a fresh invitation from the ruling military to return. 

“I think it is very important that I be given a chance to go back to Myanmar right now,” he said. 

Frustrated by the lack of progress on dialogue on political reform in Myanmar, Razali said in November that he was considering giving up his post but later said he would soldier on. 

The Myanmar government seemed last week to hint it was willing to start talks with Suu Kyi, saying in an unusually conciliatory statement it had “complete trust” in her commitment to ensuring the “smooth and stable development of Myanmar.” 

The text, issued to deny allegations that security personnel had harassed Suu Kyi during her travels outside Yangon, said the military welcomed constructive dialogue, particularly on education, health and economic development. 

But Razali played down hopes the statement signalled a breakthrough and said the military was apparently only being positive in connection with Suu Kyi’s movements, not political dialogue, as initially thought. 

“We all grabbed at something indicative of being much bigger than what it is,” Razali said of the military’s statement. 

He said the military government’s failure to extend him a fresh invitation to visit was not a good sign. 

“It’s getting to the point where it’s negative. The international community must draw its own conclusions,” he added. – Reuters  

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