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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, October 08, 2007

A couple of points to end the day.. outside the scope of Britain's immediate problems..
Ibrahim Gambari.. the UN Envoy who's just returned from Burma.. briefed the UN Security Council today.. having warned the Burmese junta leaders that continued human rights violations would lead to 'serious international reprecussions'..
During his 4 days in country, he met senior generals and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi...
The government claims at least 10 people were killed in the crackdown after last week's protests.. Mr Gambari said he feared the real death toll could be much higher..
One can only reasonably suspect the Envoy's fears were emminently justified..
But the problem here, is the financial relationship the junta has with Beijing and Delhi.. China has opposed what would amount to effective sanctions against Burma in the Security Council, saying that it's an internal matter, and something the UN has no mandate to interfere with..
But.. some signs the junta is not entirely without minds which can grasp continuing world pressure on their economy..
Earlier, reports suggested that General Than Shwe, the head of the ruling junta, had agreed in principle to meet the detained pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi..
However..he insisted that Ms Suu Kyi must give up her calls for international sanctions to be imposed against the regime, according to state media reports..
Mr Gambari said he was "cautiously encouraged" by the news and called for "maximum flexibility" from both sides.
Now, to see if such a meeting will in fact take place..
If indeed it does, and China can make itself seen as a mediator.. What face the Chinese would gain..
And what commitment could be forged between a nation that needs favoured status in oil trading, with a nation holding huge reserves..
Meanwhile, the reality of the supression of the recent protests throughout the country continues..
An undercover correspondent in Rangoon met two fugitive monks, and was told in one neighbourhood that the army had disposed of the bodies of monks killed during the crackdown by burning them in the local crematorium..
The military government is also reported to be holding monks in disused municipal buildings.. even those who applauded the monks during their demonstrations are being hunted down..
The atmosphere in Burma's main city is tense and fearful.. and will remain so until the junta can devise how a change in he basic governmental structure of the country can be effected.. without either disrupting the status quo.. or diminish their own power..
It would not do, to allow what appears to be positive moves by this junta, to lull to any degree the outrage at the fate of the protesting Buddhists..
Where arey are..
How many are left..

Or, that Darfur is still in uproar.. Charges that government troops and Janjaweed Rebels armed by the Sudanese government have attacked the only Darfuri rebel faction which agreed to a ceasefire with Khartoum..
Apparently the machete is still one of the weapons of choice against women and children..
That the UN's commitment of troops and aid still has not been met..
A number of rebel groups and the government have committed themselves to take part in new peace talks in Tripoli expected to begin later this month.. and there are suggestions that the spate of recent attacks is connected to the repositioning of forces ahead of these talks..
But analysts say that not only are the rebels splintered.. conservative estimates say there are at least 12 to 15 factions.. but that there are also splits between tribes, leaders in the field and political figures in exile..
Yet.. by next year the UN and AU are meant to have deployed the world's largest peacekeeping force.. 26 thousand troops.. to Darfur.
The hybrid force will absorb the 7 thousand African Union troops in the region who have struggled to protect civilians, admitting they are outmanned and outgunned..
But is this too, an 'internal problem'.. and has the UN or the international community any right at all to interfere..?

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