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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 January 2006, 17:23 GMT
United Nations' Burma envoy quits
Razali Ismail
Razali engineered talks between the regime and Aung San Suu Kyi
The United Nations' envoy to Burma has quit his post after being refused entry to the country for nearly two years.

Razali Ismail said he had decided not to renew his contract, which expired on 3 January.

Mr Razali, a former Malaysian diplomat, said it was clear Burma's military regime "do not want me back".

The party of Burma's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, described Mr Razali as a friend who had tried his utmost for the good of Burma.

Past successes

Mr Razali was instrumental in bringing about landmark talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese government, which began in October 2000.

He also helped secure Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest in May 2002 - although she was put back under house arrest little more than a year later.

Woman holding poster of Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest once more

But despite those successes, Mr Razali told the BBC he had failed in his job to help broker an agreement between the government and opposition that would lead the country towards democracy.

Since the talks in 2000, Burma's generals seem to have turned their backs both on the outside world and on the plan, known as the "road map", that was supposed to lead the country towards democratic reform, says the BBC's Jonathan Kent in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Razali says the process effectively came to an end with the sacking and arrest of former prime minister Khin Nyunt in 2004.

Asean role

The former diplomat says it is now time for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) to play a bigger role.

Last month, Burma's nine fellow Asean members chided it for its lack of progress towards democracy and the junta agreed to receive an Asean delegation.

However, on Friday they said that that visit, to be led by the Malaysian foreign minister, would have to be postponed because the junta was busy moving to a new capital in Burma's forested interior.

U Lwin, spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, said Mr Razali's departure was not unexpected.

"He's been trying to come here for the past two years. He must have become very frustrated. I'm not surprised he's resigned," Mr U told AFP news agency.




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