November 26, 2010 / 11:36 AM / 9 years ago

U.N. envoy to meet Myanmar junta, meet Suu Kyi

YANGON (Reuters) - A top United Nations envoy will visit military-ruled Myanmar this weekend to meet with senior government officials and recently released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, diplomats said Friday.

Vijay Nambiar, an Indian diplomat who was appointed U.N. special envoy to Myanmar earlier this year, will be the most high-profile dignitary to meet Nobel laureate Suu Kyi since her release from seven years of house arrest on November 13.

A Foreign Ministry official said Nambiar would visit “soon” but would not say whether government ministers or members of the ruling junta were prepared to meet him.

A Western diplomat in Yangon said Nambia had been given the go-ahead by the regime to visit Myanmar this weekend.

Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the past 21 years in some form of detention because of her fight against military dictatorship, has been given a free reign by the generals since her release, which has raised some suspicion about their motives.

She has met regularly with supporters, party members and given numerous interviews with foreign media. However, the Supreme Court, which critics say is influenced by the regime, has turned down her appeal to have her National League for Democracy party reinstated following its dissolution in September.

Nambiar is a former Indian ambassador to China and is believed to have a good relationship with Beijing, a key ally of the Myanmar junta. He recently visited India, China and Singapore to discuss issues related to Myanmar and its political process.

Nambiar is U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s chief of staff. He replaces Ibrahim Gambari, who served as the U.N.’s envoy to Myanmar for four years but was widely criticized as being ineffective.

Ban has welcomed Suu Kyi’s release but warned the military not to place any restrictions on her. Although he has criticized the November 7 election, won overwhelmingly by a proxy party of the military, he says the U.N. is willing to work with the new government when it is formed.

Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Andrew Marshall

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