Knock, knock

Published on 05 February 2009

At least he tried. That is probably the best that could be said for Ibrahim Gambari’s latest mission to Myanmar, which ended on February 3rd. The four-day visit was the Nigerian’s seventh as the United Nations’ envoy to the country, a job whose history is strewn with past failures. [...] Western donors had hoped that international cyclone relief would crack open the door to broader co-operation on aid, and perhaps a dash of glasnost. There is little sign that it did. The World Food Programme recently reported that Myanmar will need 185,000 tonnes of food aid this year, after the cyclone and a rat infestation have ruined crops. But its ability to deliver grain to the needy is strangled by the junta’s controls, particularly in desperately poor western Myanmar.

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