United Nations envoy Ibrahim Gambari has met with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. Their meeting in a government building reportedly lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. The last meeting between Gambari and Suu Kyi took place in November last year.
She has been under house arrest since 2003 but has not been free for the better part of eighteen years. Diplomatic sources say Gambari has also met with leaders of Myanmar’s military junta. But it’s uncertain whether the talks included the regime’s number one army general, Than Shwe. He is seen as the only one with the authority to approve the meeting with Suu Kyi. A member of the pro-democracy underground reportedly says they hope Gambari can put the generals under pressure along with other political leaders.
Myanmar’s generals usually ignore outside pressure but they bowed to the international outcry that followed soldiers shooting down peaceful protestors last week, to allow the UN envoy in at short notice. The heavy-handed suppression of the protests has prompted criticism of the junta from around the world.