BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008, 15:26 GMT
Burma rejects UN referendum plan
Aung San Suu Kyi (centre) with Ibrahim Gambari and an aid (left), 8 March 2008
The Burmese statement came after Ibrahim Gambari's talks
Burma's military government has rejected a UN proposal to send independent observers to May's referendum on a new constitution.

State television said monitors would impinge on Burma's sovereignty.

The proposal was made by visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari in a meeting with officials responsible for the vote.

Mr Gambari also met opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who is under house arrest but was allowed to leave for the talks in a state guest house.

The May referendum is part of a road map for the restoration of democracy.

It was announced by Burma's military rulers following an international outcry over the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests by Buddhist monks last year.


The process is due to lead to democratic elections in 2010, though opposition groups have cast doubt on whether the government will stick to its pledges.

Pro-democracy activists say the proposals will leave the military largely in power. A quarter of seats in parliament would be reserved for the armed forces.

Earlier, Ms Suu Kyi, who leads the opposition National League for Democracy, was seen leaving her home in a convoy of official vehicles for the meeting with Mr Gambari.

As yet, there's been no word on the outcome of their talks. Mr Gambari, who has made three visits to Burma since the September protests, last met her in November.

Mr Gambari's mediation mission was prompted by international concern at the crackdown and demands for democracy to be restored.

'Confrontational attitude'

On Friday, he met government officials who repeated that the head of the military government, Than Shwe, would only be willing to meet Ms Suu Kyi if she stopped calling for sanctions against Burma and dropped her "confrontational attitude".

Information Minister Kyaw Hsan also expressed disappointment with Mr Gambari's efforts to rally support in neighbouring countries for reform in Burma.

The NLD won elections in 1990, but the government refused to recognise the result. Ms Suu Kyi has been in detention for 12 of the last 18 years.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific