Deadlock in Burma

For more than two years now Burma's military leaders have been holding secret talks with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). The dialogue started while Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest. When she was released earlier this year, the international community and the people of Burma expected the process to move to the next stage – substantive political negotiations. But instead it now looks as if the whole process has stalled. Progress needed to resolve the country's political deadlock looks as far away as ever.

Just a few months ago a political breakthrough seemed not only possible but also imminent. The United Nations special envoy, Razali Ismail, who brokered the talks between the two sides, in fact, believed that it was just a matter of a few weeks before something substantial was achieved to break the impasse that is now more than a decade old. But Burma's generals have revealed their true colours. The military leaders have for long asserted that the country was going through a transition toward a multi-party democracy. Now, however, the country's powerful intelligence chief, General Khin Nyunt, says, "Such a transition cannot be done in haste or in a haphazard manner". He warned, "The world is full of examples where hasty transition from one system to another led to unrest, instability and even failed states".

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Himal Southasian