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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 15:10 UK

UN Burma envoy 'wasted his time'

Nyan Win in Rangoon, 21/08
Nyan Win delivered strongly-worded criticism of the UN mission

Burma's main opposition party has dismissed the latest visit by UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari as a waste of time.

Nyan Win, of the National League for Democracy (NLD), said Mr Gambari had not established any dialogue between the military rulers and the opposition.

He was also annoyed that the envoy appeared to have given tacit backing to the junta's planned election in 2010.

Detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi refused to meet Mr Gambari, fuelling speculation she is unhappy with the UN.

And Mr Gambari was not invited to the remote capital of Nay Pyi Taw to meet the junta's top leader, Senior General Than Shwe.

The BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head, says Mr Gambari now seems to have used up all the credibility he had.

After more than two years of failure his statements remain relentlessly upbeat - yet he seems to put no pressure on the generals, our correspondent says.

Consolidated power

Nyan Win expressed particular annoyance with Mr Gambari for negotiating with the generals over their "roadmap" to democracy, which plans for elections in 2010.

"We have made very clear to the UN envoy that the mission should not discuss the upcoming 2010 elections, as the NLD does not recognise the military-backed constitution," he said.

File image of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari
Mr Gambari's latest visit to Burma has attracted little praise

"The UN envoy was wasting his time on matters that he was not supposed to deal with."

He added that Mr Gambari had also failed to make any progress on the other major theme of his mission - to secure the release of political prisoners including Ms Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.

During his six-day visit, Mr Gambari did hold talks with the NLD and meet Prime Minister Thein Sein - a figurehead who holds little real power.

But diplomats conceded that nothing concrete had come of his visit.

The NLD won a general election in 1990 but the junta refused to allow the party to assume power.

In recent months, the generals have further consolidated their grip on power, pushing through a constitution which reserves 25% of the seats in any future parliament for the military.

They have also extended Ms Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year. She has spent more than half of the past 20 years in detention.

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