Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 14:19 UK

No top-rank talks for Burma envoy

File image of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari
Mr Gambari has paid several visit to Burma since violence last year

The United Nations envoy on Burma has left the country without meeting either its top military ruler or detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ibrahim Gambari had extended his visit in the hope of securing higher-level meetings to press for political reform.

But he was not invited to meet Gen Than Shwe in the remote capital Nay Pyi Taw.

Ms Suu Kyi, meanwhile, failed to attend scheduled talks with the UN envoy on Wednesday, fuelling speculation she is unhappy with his lack of progress.

Ibrahim Gambari was on his fourth visit to the military-ruled nation since anti-government protests were brutally crushed in September 2007.

He has been pressing for talks between Burma's generals and the pro-democracy movement.

Aung San Suu Kyi and a military liaison officer, Aung Kyi, have held five meetings. But they have not met since January and their talks have yielded no progress.

'Not much'

During his six-day visit, Mr Gambari did meet Prime Minister Thein Sein, but he was not given an audience with top leader Than Shwe.

"He said he raised some points with the government and hoped to return. In terms of concrete outcomes, there was not much," Reuters news agency quoted a Western diplomat as saying.

Ms Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, proved equally elusive - despite the fact that she has met Mr Gambari on previous visits.

After she missed the Wednesday meeting he sent two aides to her house on Friday to try to secure last-minute talks, but they received no response, reports said.

It could be a sign that the Nobel Peace Prize winner is unhappy with the UN's failure to cajole the junta to reform, analysts say.

In recent months Burma's leaders have tightened control over the South East Asian nation.

Three months ago, amid the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, they forced through a new constitution that further cements their hold on power. They have also extended Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest for another year.

The pro-democracy leader led the National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in elections in 1990, but the party has never been allowed to take office.

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