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UN Trying Resolve Myanmar's Politic

Subject: UN Trying Resolve Myanmar's Political Problems 

               UN Trying Resolve Myanmar's
               Political Problems


               BANGKOK, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The United Nations is seeking
ways to help
               overcome a political stalemate in Myanmar, where the
               opposition is being stifled by the military government,
Yangon-based diplomats
               said on Friday. 

               A newspaper report saying the United Nations and World Bank
had held secret
               talks with the Myanmar government to offer it financial
assistance to open up a
               dialogue with the opposition was broadly correct but "ahead
of the game," they

               "There have been discussions on such a concept. They are
exploratory talks,
               looking at different concepts, to see if there could be some
sort of resolution to
               the political problems in Myanmar," said one Yangon-based

               A senior Myanmar government spokesmen told Reuters he could
neither deny
               or confirm the report. 

               "I cannot confirm or deny it. I don't have enough
information. Neither the
               government nor the U.N. have said anything, but some
diplomats seem to have a
               lot to say about it. They may be floating a test balloon,"
he said. 

               The International Herald Tribune reported on Thursday the
United Nations and
               World Bank were willing to give Myanmar up to $1 billion in
financial and
               humanitarian aid in exchange for opening a dialogue with the
opposition led by
               Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. 

               The idea was first floated by U.N. special envoy Alvaro de
Soto in Myanmar
               during a visit there last month, the newspaper reported,
quoting unidentified
               sources involved in the talks. 

               The proposal was drawn up after an informal meeting in
southern England
               between five Yangon-based ambassadors, U.N. and World Bank
officials, the
               newspaper said. 

               Under the plan, Myanmar's military rulers would be rewarded
with assistance
               progressively each time there was some movement in
               dialogue, it added. 

               "But the details in the newspaper are too far ahead of the
game. There were
               discussions but not so detailed," said the diplomat, adding
that the United
               Nations was directly involved in the issue in consultations
with the nations

               The Myanmar spokesman said his country usually would not
agree to anything
               that had conditions attached to it. 

               "Myanmar never accepts anything with strings attached. If
any organisation or
               country wants to help the Myanmar people we will accept but
if it has conditions
               attached, we don't believe it is sincere," he added. 

               Another diplomat said that the informal meeting in England
was attended by
               Yangon-based ambassadors of Britain, the United States, the
               Singapore and Australia. 

               "There was a feeling among the international community of
different backgrounds
               that they try to find solutions to the political problem in
Myanmar," the Western
               diplomat added. 

               "We all want to see some change in Myanmar but it has not
come about yet.
               This concept is part of the U.N. secretary-general's mandate
to find solutions in

               "I would love to believe this idea may be the answer but we
still have a long way
               to go. The opposition has said it is neutral about the
idea," the diplomat added. 

               Myanmar's ruling generals have effectively put Suu Kyi's
opposition National
               League for Democracy (NLD) party in a political
strait-jacket recently. 

               They have refused to hold a dialogue with the party if Suu
Kyi were to represent
               it at negotiations, detained almost 1,000 NLD members in
government "guest
               houses" in recent weeks, shut some NLD party offices and
curbed its political

               The government has refused most applications by journalists
to visit Myanmar
               and cut off telephone access to NLD officials. 

               The stern government action against the pro-democracy
activists has been taken
               despite protests from Western nations. 

               The NLD's call for a people's parliament of elected
representatives from the
               1990 general election, which the NLD swept but the result of
which was not
               recognised by the military, has been rejected by the

               Diplomats said that given tough economic conditions
prevailing in Myanmar, the
               "dollar diplomacy" concept might be a novel way to attract
the cash-strapped
               government's attention. 

               "Inflation is very high, the economy is in a bad shape and
the people are facing
               lots of hardships. It could be a good time and way for a
meeting of minds," said
               a diplomat. 

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