( AP ) - The United Nations envoy to Myanmar opened his second visit in recent weeks by meeting Saturday with the top U.N. diplomat in the country, whom the regime just said it wanted to expel.
Myanmar's military leaders gave foreign and U.N. diplomats a note Friday that said they would not continue U.N. Resident Coordinator Charles Petrie's assignment in the country. That was seen as a response to Petrie saying last month that the junta's failure to meet the economic and humanitarian needs of its people caused September's mass pro-democracy protests, which were violently put down by the government.
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari saw Petrie after his arrival, according to a U.N. statement, and flew to the remote new capital of Naypyitaw, where government officials said he met with senior leaders of the junta. He was expected to address junta's announcement that it would expel Petrie.
The military has said 10 people were killed in the crackdown on the demonstrations, but diplomats and dissidents say the death toll is much higher. Thousands of people were detained.
Protests have largely died down, but Yangon residents said on Saturday they were unable to access the main Internet provider for the third straight day, while a second ISP controlled by the government provided slow and limited service.
It was not known which of the junta leaders would meet Gambari in Naypyitaw, a bunker-like seat of power 250 miles north of Yangon, or whether he would later be allowed to visit detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.
Gambari was first dispatched to Myanmar immediately following the government crackdown, and he met with junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe and with Suu Kyi.
Gambari has been on a six-nation Asian tour urging support from key countries for national reconciliation, a stepped-up transition to democracy, and the release of all detained demonstrators.
U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said Gambari would convey to Myanmar's military rulers the secretary-general's "very strong" support for the U.N. leadership in Myanmar, and sent a note for Gen. Than Shwe with Gambari.
But little of substance has changed on Myanmar's political scene since Gambari's first visit, and analysts expect that little will result from Gambari's latest visit.
"It's a game. It's the only game in town, but it's a game," said David Steinberg, a Myanmar expert from Georgetown University who visited the country last month and met with government officials.
The United Nations has attempted to bring about reconciliation in the country for almost two decades. The junta has from time to time made minor concessions, like allowing brief meetings with Suu Kyi, but continues to perpetuate its 45-year stranglehold on power.
Protest leaders who recently escaped to Thailand say some still look to the United Nations with hope, but others are deeply disillusioned that it has failed to be more forceful in dealing with the junta.
"The world seems to have accepted the lies of the (junta). This is a matter of life or death but so far the U.N. and the world has only come up with words," said Kar Kar Pancha, a Yangon businessman who fled to the Thai border.