The outgoing U.N. envoy for Myanmar said Friday he is pessimistic that a longtime diplomatic standoff with the military junta will get any better if the West continues its tough approach.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro told reporters that "megaphone diplomacy" wasn't working with the increasingly isolated regime in Myanmar, and said human rights victims, whom the West could help, are being held hostage to politics.
Pinheiro has not been allowed to visit Myanmar, also known as Burma, since November 2003. Appointed in 2001, his term expires in April.
He spoke to the media a day after delivering a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Myanmar, in which he repeated that the junta was holding more than 1,100 political prisoners, highlighted abuses against ethnic minorities and expressed concern about the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar's military junta took power in 1988 after brutally crushing a pro-democracy movement. In 1990, it refused to hand over power when Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory in general elections.
During a news conference, he again faulted the regime but said it was unlikely to change in the current climate. He said that required a change in approach by the rest of the world.
Particularly frustrating, he said, was that Europe and others had not been able to persuade the junta to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross inside the country to see Suu Kyi privately.
Pinheiro said the international community was forgetting about the human rights victims in Myanmar and had focused too much on isolating the junta, AP reports.