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UN Envoy Tours Cyclone-Struck Areas in Burma


U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari toured Burma's cyclone-struck Irrawaddy Delta Tuesday to observe recovery and reconstruction efforts.

Gambari's five-day visit to Burma this week is his first since Cyclone Nargis tore across the country's agricultural belt in May leaving at least 134,000 people dead or missing.

Tuesday, Gambari visited Kungyangone township, which is just south of the main city of Rangoon.

The brunt of Gambari's trip, however, is expected to focus on restarting talks between the opposition National League for Democracy and the country's military rulers.

Western diplomats in Rangoon say Gambari will try to persuade Burma's military junta to revive its dialogue with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and address the key issue of political prisoners.

During his visit, Gambari is expected to meet directly with Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years.

On Monday, he met Burma's Foreign Minister Nyan Win and held talks with diplomats and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Gambari has visited Burma four times since the country's leadership carried out a bloody crackdown on democracy protests last September.

But so far, talks have yielded few results.

Last year, the Burmese government appointed a liaison, Aung Kyi, to act as a go-between with Aung San Suu Kyi following September's bloody protests.

The two, however, have not held talks since January.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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