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UN Envoy Denied Meeting with Burma's Suu Kyi

Senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), vice chairman Tin Oo (C) and Win Tin (L) meet with UN special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana (R) in Rangoon, Burma, 18 Feb 2010

The United Nations' special envoy on human rights in Burma says he deeply regrets that Burma's military government denied him a meeting with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest.

U.N. envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana told reporters Friday he was particularly disappointed to be denied a meeting because this year Burma is expected to hold its first national elections in 20 years. He said no reason was given for the denial.

Quintana met Friday with a number of government officials to discuss the elections and other issues. He said he was not told when elections will be held or when an anticipated election law governing the vote will be announced.

He said the government also refused to release any political prisoners or even acknowledge that such prisoners exist.

The envoy made the comments at the end of his five-day visit to Burma.

The officials Quintana met with Friday include Home Minister Major General Maung Oo, Labor and Liaison Minister Aung Kyi, Chief Justice Aung Toe, Attorney General U Aye Maung and Police Chief Khin Ye.

The envoy also met Myanmar Human Rights Committee members in Nay Pyi Daw.

Quintana met with five senior members of Burma's embattled opposition National League for Democracy party in a Rangoon hotel on Thursday. He also visited the notorious Insein prison, where many political detainees are held.

Burma's military leaders have pledged to hold elections this year for the first time in two decades. The NLD won an overwhelming victory in the 1990 election, but the military refused to relinquish its control over the government.

The NLD objects to some of the rules governing this year's election. Khin Maung Swe says party members are eager to meet with detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi before officially deciding whether to participate.

The military government has kept opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in some form of detention for 14 of the past 20 years.

The government did allow Quintana to see Tin Oo, the 82-year-old deputy leader of the NLD who was released from house arrest last week.

Quintana also met Win Tin, who was once one of Burma's longest-serving political prisoners until his release from prison in 2008.