Written by U Ne Oo on 2006-05-22

In this day and age of security over-zealous democratic regimes rein throughout the globe, and with all too frequent display of western military might in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, one could expect the least of political and diplomatic support for a free Burma.

We may well passed, of course, the period of such a dark and sombre thinking for Burma. Since late last year's TuTu-Havel report on Burma, there is a significant shift in the position of ASEAN and Burma's neighboring countries. ASEAN has basically moved away from softly-softly do-nothing stance.

Under George Bush Jr., the American support for Burma's democratic causes so far were rather minimal. This is for several reasons. Firstly, Bush administration has never think of working effectively with the United Nations (Republicans are quite hostile to the UN establishment in general). Secondly, Bush administration has a lack of political wisdom that enable to tackle complex problems --such as that of Burma. Since Bush took the office, what we have seen was the repeat of the Administration exercising raw military power (followed by disastrous political consequences ).

As of this year, things seems to be changing. Good-O diplomacy seem to be back in favour. Of course, George "Macho" Bush Jr. and its war administration is much incapacitated now that Karl Rove, top political adviser, is under investigation. George Bush himself may become a subject for impeachment, if the Democrats are having their own way after Congressional election late this year.

The only sane identity that left of US administration is Secretary of State Condolezza Rice. Let us hope the new initiatives by UN are taken carefully. We would surely be of the "cheer squad" should any action be taken on Burma.

May 18, Mizzima News

UN under secretary general arrives in Rangoon - Jessicah Curtis

United Nations under secretary general for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari arrived in Rangoon today as part of a three-day visit to assess the political and human rights situation in Burma.

While the UN in Burma has been tight-lipped about the visit, with staff saying Gambari's schedule was "highly confidential", the National League for Democracy told Mizzima today their top leaders were due to meet the UN representative tomorrow afternoon at a government-run guest house.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said party members were likely to discuss UN action on Burma with Gambari.

"We think that a UN resolution will be the focus of the discussions," he said.

Gambari is the first UN envoy to have access to Burma and the NLD in more than two years. Sources in the UN confirmed today he has asked the Burmese military for permission to meet Aung San Suu Kyi. It is still unclear whether or not they agreed.

While Nyan Win said the NLD felt positive about Gambari's visit, describing it as "very useful" many Burmese are skeptical, saying little will be achieved.

A journalist in Rangoon told Mizzima today, "I think not much will come out of this [visit]. The military will not show the truth as always. [Gambari] will only be given lies," the journalist said.

International aid workers have also questioned the visit.

"I don't think anyone is expecting it to bear fruit," one humanitarian worker said.

He said the timing of the visit and the secrecy surrounding it were odd, citing the recent pushes the have Burma included on the Security Council agenda and the failure of previous envoys to produce tangible results.

"It doesn't seem to be a strategically good time. Across the board there is concern that the visit will be pretty ineffectual."

Gambari was due to meet with UN staff today but there was confusion over whether or not the meeting would happen with one UN worker telling Mizzima, "We are waiting for him now but we don't know if he will show up".

Gambari and Rice: a glimmer of hope for Burma