Nov 3, 2007

UN official kicked out

Why does this not surprise me?

The United Nations is disappointed by the message from the government of Myanmar that it would not want the resident coordinator, Mr. Charles Petrie, to continue to serve. Petrie was advised that he was no longer welcome in the country and needs to leave.

Mr Petrie, who began his posting in Burma in 2003, issued a statement a week ago critical of the country's deepening economic crisis. Burma's rulers were not impressed.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe called the expulsion of Petrie, the U.N.'s human rights representative, "outrageous" and noted it came the day before Ibrahim Gambari, the special U.N. envoy to Myanmar, is scheduled to return to the country.It is "an insult to the United Nations and the international community," Johndroe said. "They say that they are interested in cooperating with the U.N., so this seems very unusual to say the least."

Some believe Burma's authorities have made their move at this time so that Mr Gambari will have to spend all of his visit talking about the UN instead of talking about reform.

The United Nations does not know who Gambari will be meeting with, but it is hoped 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.


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