Friday, November 2, 2007

Junta expels U.N. diplomat


Internet has been cut again after the Oct. 31's protest. The generals are afraid that Pakokku will once again be the spark that ignites nation wide protests. Many monks have been warned not to take part in new demonstrations....

The junta continues to send mixed messages to the international community: As it prepares to receive UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari, it has expelled UN resident coordinator Charles Petri. CNN's article HERE. MSN's HERE.

Myanmar's Foreign Ministry has ordered a top U.N. diplomat in the secretive Asian country to leave, the U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Myanmar told CNN on Friday.

According to Shari Villarosa, U.N. resident coordinator Charles Petri was told by the ruling military junta that "he was no longer welcome in the country."

There was no immediate response from the United Nations.

News of the order for Petri to leave came as Ibrahim Gambari, the special U.N. envoy to Myanmar, was due to return to the troubled nation on Saturday.

"They say that they are interested in cooperating with the U.N.," Villarosa said, "so this seems very unusual to say the least." It was uncertain whether Petri had been given a deadline for leaving the country.

It will be the second visit to Myanmar in recent weeks for Gambari, who has a five-day visa.

The United Nations does not know who Gambari will be meeting with, but it is thought that the envoy will facilitate talks between ruling generals and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, an opposition leader and human rights activist who has been under house arrest on and off for nearly 20 years.

In his October meeting, Gambari met with the military junta leadership as well as with Suu Kyi.

"What everybody has been seeking is the initiation of a genuine dialogue that leads toward broad national reconciliation," Villarosa said.
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The visit will come only a few days after dissident sources in Mae Sot told CNN that more than 70 Buddhist monks marched in central Myanmar on Wednesday.

The march, which the sources said took place in the town of Pakokku, is the first reported since a government crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in September, in which as many as 110 people are believed to have been killed -- including 40 Buddhist monks.

The protests were initially sparked by a huge fuel price increase imposed by the military government, but quickly escalated.

Myanmar's military junta admitted in mid-October to detaining more than 2,900 people during the crackdown, and many of them are still believed to be in custody.

Video smuggled out of the secretive country has shown unarmed protesters being beaten by government security forces, and one man -- believed to be a Japanese journalist -- shot and killed at close range.

Myanmar's humanitarian crisis has sparked international outrage, concern and attention