The junta are taking a very basic approach to relations with the UN, they effectivley made Charles Petrie, the UN Resident Coordinator redundant by declining to renew his permission, on the face of it because they were displeased with what he had said about their regime. Something along the lines of- you brutal bunch of fascist Neanderthal muppets, your people are starving you ludicrous uniformed asswipes (I’m paraphrasing here but that’s the main gist…probably). This was just ahead of Gambari visiting today which is what lets the other shoe drop…By expelling the UN they suddenly create a crisis that the envoy will need to talk to them about, suddenly they can make the negotiations all about the UN, it gives them a greater stake of diplomatic currency to bargain with and ooh gosh maybe we’ll let him stay if you’re nice, or maybe we’ll demand a different guy. Meanwhile all the other stuff that they needed to negotiate on cannot get as mush attention and they can slide on it more easily. They are slippery buggers who quite frankly are taking the piss, they have again cut net access and are happily signing a $60 million deal for a hydro electric plant with an Indian bank. Gambari was intending to push for proper negotiations between the junta and the opposition (otherwise known as the democratically elected government, ahem)-
Internet connections in Myanmar, which had been cut on Thursday, were still not operating on Saturday.The restrictions on internet access have been widely seen as an attempt by Myanmar’s rulers to limit the flow of information before Gambari’s visit, his second in a month.
Gambari is seeking to persuade Myanmar’s ruling generals to instigate political reforms, weeks after a violent military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. He is expected to meet generals and other senior officials in the capital Naypyidaw, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations, a Myanmar official said. He will also meet detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, the official told AFP news agency.
At the same time the The International Committee of the Red Cross are requesting access-
In a statement, released yesterday, the ICRC said it “is ready to resume all its activities at very short notice, provided it is given the necessary guarantees that it will be able to act as a neutral and independent humanitarian organization.” Permission to visit those being held in detention as a result of their roles in the protests of August and September is given as a driving force behind ICRC’s request.
The request to again conduct work in Burma comes four months after the organization issued an atypical public censure of a national government: “The ICRC has repeatedly drawn attention to abuses but the authorities have failed to put a stop to them. The continuing deadlock with the authorities has led the ICRC to take the exceptional step of making its concerns public,” stated ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger.
Assesment of the General’s sincerity is not rosy-
Ahead of Gambari’s visit, some experts said the international scrutiny faced by the junta since the crackdown could pave the way for a meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime’s top general Than Shwe, a key demand of the international community.
“Than Shwe does not … want to have dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, but current international pressure and sanctions may force him to have talks,” said Thai-based Myanmar analyst Aung Naing Oo. Others, though, see any concessions made by the junta as an attempt to give the impression it is trying to meet demands for reform without ceding any real power.
“The junta is trying to make some concessions. But in terms of substance, I don’t think the concessions are real,” said Win Min, a lecturer at Payap University in Chiang Mai.
Internally the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front vowed yesterday to continue with its armed struggle to bring democracy to Burma and farmers may be gearing up to lead the next wave of protests-
“Maybe the next time it will be the farmers who take the lead in response to the rapid inflation between their plantation season and crop harvesting seasons who see their investment evaporate,” said U Maung Maung, general secretary of the National Council of the Union of Burma.
An interesting comment piece Playing God in Burma by May Ng a regional officer for Justice for Human Rights in Burma and rounds up some background on the junta’s strategic alliances, future deals with China & Russia and their relations among the ASEAN nations. The network of trade and geopolitical game playing is what keeps the junta in place, would that realpolitik was replaced with humanpolitik, then we could make some genuine claim to being civilised. Until then, well Jarvis said it nicely.