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Myanmar sets date for U.N. special

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

May 19, 2001,

Myanmar sets date for U.N. special envoy's next visit


Myanmar (Burma) has set a date for United Nation's special envoy Ismail 
Razali's next visit to the
country, the ruling junta disclosed on Saturday in a rebuttal of a recent 
editorial that appeared in the
New York Times newspaper.

Myanmar's permanent representative to the U.N., Kyaw Tint Swe, refuted a 
New York Times'
editorial dated May 15 that suggested Razali, U.N. Special Envoy to 
Myanmar, had been denied
access to the country.

"The fact of the matter is, our Mission has been working with the United 
Nations Secretariat to prepare
Mr. Razali's visit," said Kyaw Tint Swe, in a letter sent to the editor of 
the New York Times.

"I wish to inform you that on the very day your editorial appeared, a 
mutually convenient date had been
worked out and communicated to the Secretariat," said the letter, which was 
made available to the press
in Yangon on Saturday.

The date of Razali's next visit was not mentioned.

Razali, a Malaysian diplomat who was once his country's ambassador to the 
U.N., has visited
Myanmar three times since being appointed special envoy by U.N. Secretary 
General Kofi Annan last

Razali has claimed partial credit for the quiet startup last October of a 
political dialogue between
Myanmar's ruling military regime and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 
who heads the National
League for Democracy (NLD) party that won the 1990 polls, but was never 
granted power.

Kyaw Tint Swe took offence with the New York Times' failure to acknowledge 
recent positive
developments in Myanmar, regarded as a pariah by Western democracies for 
its poor human rights

He pointed out that in recent months, Myanmar has been visited by a 
European Union troika mission,
by the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and the Special Rapporteur 
for the U.N. Human Rights

"To ignore these positive developments and to urge the political pressure 
be exerted on Myanmar,
whether under guise of alleged human rights violations or forced labour, 
would not only be wrong but
also be counter productive," warned the Myanmar ambassador to the U.N.